It is said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is now. It’s going to take a while for the tree to grow, cast shade, block wind, and bear fruit. And though you may not see the need for these benefits now, the only way to have them when you do need them is to prepare now.
The same applies to airport planning. Wait-and-see (aka hide-and-watch) is generally not a successful way forward, as this strategy only amplifies the risk of not being ready for the returning demand for air travel. You don’t want to wait until the travelers are filling the hold room and the aircraft filling the ramp to think about what to do next.
Planning in this exciting environment of new considerations is less about what your airport may be 20 years from now, and more about the order of business to stay ahead of the coming return of the travelers. There are a lot of conversations to have, numbers to run, and choices to make, including:
- Explore scenarios of passenger levels and aircraft movements – can the facility meet a new peak of demand?
- Identify needs for expansion – can the facility be rehabilitated instead of building new?
- Map funding and financing options – can the most be made of the new Congressional programs?
- Prioritize improvements to the passenger experience – can the facility meet the new expectations of the traveler?
There is now the opportunity for airports to continue to be the transportation and economic drivers for their communities. Even though airports likely cannot create demand, they can plan for it—and Mead & Hunt can help.
We are now leading the discussion and decision-making with communities at airports nationwide, so they are ready. We want to bring you the resources, lessons, and benefit of this planning, to position you to meet, ease, and encourage the return to air travel. Let’s plant that tree.