Olivier Baric says that airports can better equip themselves for uncertainty by extending their capability to capture real-time data on the whole enterprise, and by embedding regular scenario planning into their strategy development. ARMAP can help them do this.

The post-COVID period comes with lots of challenges and uncertainties for everyone in aviation, especially around traffic recovery. Among the many unanswered questions: what will the pace of recovery be, what health restrictions will remain in place and how do we prepare for future waves or new varieties of pandemic? We joined forces with respected airport competency developers ASI to develop Airport Recovery Management Action Plan (ARMAP), a structured way to help airports answer these questions and look ahead with greater confidence and flexibility.

Many airports have now successfully ‘reset’ post-COVID; they are back up and running, albeit at significantly lower volumes. The challenge for them now is to re-plan, re-focus and resource for a variety of possible futures. This is where ARMAP can help. It combines tailored scenario planning with guidance on how to extend data gathering from operational KPIs to cover real time customer service, retail sales and other statistics vital to the enterprise, but outside of normal flight operations-focused data points. Delivered both online and offline, it delivers high value, hands-on support quickly and efficiently – typically in under four weeks, leaving the airport’s own recovery taskforce with tools and processes they can continue to use.

Scenario planning with ARMAP

Under the ARMAP process, local airport conditions are plotted against four pre-defined scenarios for recovery. Then a workshop is organized to present the tailored airport scenarios to external experts (who might be former airport CEOs, or local stakeholders for example). The scenarios are adjusted to take account of the feedback gathered during the workshop, and the airport recovery taskforce then proceed to develop action plans for each scenario, with support from the ARMAP team.

There is a tendency in scenario planning to conduct a single exercise and then ‘park’ the learning points in a corner to gather dust. However, to build effective strategy in the face of uncertainty, airports need to explore scenarios and assumptions on a more regular basis so they can spot issues earlier and adjust plans accordingly. The ARMAP process leaves the airport recovery taskforce with tools and techniques to review those scenarios easily going forwards.

An enterprise view of performance

Another key element to the ARMAP support is the formation (or shaping) of the Airport Enterprise Management Centre (AEMC). This can be physical or virtual – a room or a digital dashboard. It involves all stakeholders, not only the airport management team, and captures the available information as well as the data needed to monitor the recovery action plan. Where gaps are identified, the ARMAP team proposes a way forward.

The goal is to provide relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in an easy to understand way and automatic alerts on issues relevant to any of the users. It includes management processes, enabling goals to be set and monitored, standards to be implemented, strategies to be interpreted and KPIs to be monitored.

ARMAP gives stakeholders visibility and input to the strategic planning process and equips the airport management team with practical tools for moving beyond ‘reset’ to manage their own recovery.

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