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Reinventing the Business of Airports

Read how Jacobs is partnering with the aviation industry to work through the current extremely challenging environment and emerge with financially robust and sustainable business models beyond the pandemic.

With the aviation industry experiencing some very trying conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, airports and airlines are continuing to mitigate the financial impacts of a sudden and sustained reduction in travel demand. With a legacy of delivering aviation projects, we know that advisory and business and financial related services play a key role in helping airports maintain business continuity and be ready to go “wheel’s up” when passenger volumes begin to return to pre-pandemic levels.

AAAE/Jacobs Passenger Facility Charges & Rates and Charges Workshops

Virtual attendees discussed timely topics as part of the AAAE/Jacobs Passenger Facility Charges & Rates and Charges Workshops on September 9-11. Several Jacobs employees shared insights, paired with numerous industry-leading speakers, including five senior-level officials from the FAA Airports office; four major passenger and cargo airlines (American, Southwest, Spirit, UPS), 14 large-, medium-, small-, and non-hub U.S. airports (including Orlando, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Erie, Harrisburg, Wichita, Fort Meyers, and Panama City), two major banks (Bank of America and Raymond James), Fitch Ratings, a leading public finance advisor, and a leading aviation legal counsel.

As part of the Passenger Facility Charge Workshop:

  • Tanya Cooper presented an introduction to the PFC program for U.S. airports, including project eligibility and the application process as part of Session 1: PFC 101. She presented a case study of a recently completed successful PFC application for a small hub airport client to provide a roadmap for airports to utilize for their own PFC applications.

As part of the Rates & Charges Workshop:

  • David Neyer addressed timely topics including typical airport cost accounting and centers and allocating operating costs among direct and indirect cost centers as part of Session 1: Fundamentals for Calculating Airline Rates & Charges.
  • Tom Walsh moderated Session 2: Legal and Regulatory Framework featuring best practices for considering key legal and regulatory factors related to airport finance.
  • Linda Perry moderated Session 3: Traffic Forecasting for Financial Planning with Blinders, covering various approaches to scenario-based projections of aviation activity over the next few years, as airports look to develop their roadmaps to recovery.
  • Tom Walsh led an informative discussion on whether airports have access to bond and other types of financing and on what terms, as he moderated Session 4: Is the Airport Capital Market Accessible in the Current Environment?
  • Sheri Ernico moderated Sessions 5 and 6: Airport Legislative Update and Airport Responses to COVID-19 Financial Pressures covering the impact of the severe loss of revenue caused by the pandemic and how airports of various sizes are responding to this severe challenge in the short- to mid-term  for success over the longer term.
  • Session 7: Airline Panel – Airline Property Representative Perspectives was moderated by Sheri Ernico and it addressed the impact on airline-airport relations from the point of view of the airlines.
  • Session 8: Airport Ground Transportation Issues and Developments was moderated by Jack Santa and involved a discussion of recent trends and best practices in airport parking, rental car, TNC, and related trends; as well as the impact of the pandemic on these modes.

“It was helpful to get together with our colleagues and friends from around the airport industry to hear about how they are responding to the current unprecedented challenges resulting from the pandemic. Hearing about various approaches and strategies for responding to the crisis confirms our view that our industry can weather the storm and return to its customary position of strength,” explains Jacobs Aviation Strategic Consulting Director Tom Walsh. “We look forward to assisting our clients over the coming months in developing traffic recovery profiles and related flexible business and financial strategies”

Jacobs Aviation Strategic Consulting Director Sheri Ernico added “Developing a virtual conference is not for the feign of heart. We made sure to cover as broad a spectrum as possible regarding content and speakers so that the depth of material offered this year was the best in the 30+ years of these annual workshops. Mission accomplished!”

With the full integration of staff from LeighFisher, our advisory and business solutions offering are reinventing the business of airports. Want to know more about our aviation strategic consulting services? Click here.