LeighFisher specialises in assisting private and public operators of airport infrastructure in dealing with strategic issues that underpin major investment and operational decision-making.

Asia remains home to a large share of the world’s population, and nations such as China, India and Indonesia are likely to be major drivers of air traffic growth over the next few decades. As these nations get richer, large swathes of their populations are joining the middle class – the population segment that drives demand for transportation of all sorts and air transportation in particular.

However, while these nations are getting wealthier by leaps and bounds, their legacy infrastructure is often in alarming shambles. In order to foster continued economic growth, rapid improvements must be made to aviation infrastructure and its operation.

Key strategic issues

While the short-term outlook differs depending on whether one is discussing the developed world or the developing world, many key strategic issues faced by airport owners and operators are similar, at least in general terms – economic regulation, pricing pressures from competitors and airlines, capital investment and implementation, and access to capital.

Globally, airport operators are striving to differentiate themselves and to provide unique offerings to their customers and stakeholders, including offering airlines incentives to use the airport, improved technology and efficiency, and unique airport facilities and services to enhance the customer experience.

Airports have been struggling with the seminal shift from serving legacy and network carrier needs to responding to the needs of low-fare carriers, in addition to the new focus on individual legacy carriers instead of airline alliances. Providing simpler facilities to cater to new entrants has led to the development of facilities emphasising operational efficiency and improved throughput. Regulatory policy and aeronautical charging have also developed in more subtle ways, with airports offering different products for specific airline customers; this in turn has led to airlines and passengers realising the differences in terms of service levels and costs. Airlines have a renewed interest in working with airport operators to fine-tune their business models and product offerings.

Coupled with today’s economic realities, these factors led to major changes in the way development of air traffic patterns across the world; a new ‘baseline’ has been created.

Innovation, efficiency and performance

Regardless of the challenges, there is little doubt that the situation presents airport operators and managers with a huge opportunity for innovation, as well as opportunities for improved efficiency and performance. Despite the differences at airports around the world, many of the challenges legacy operators face in an uncertain financial and regulatory world remain the same, and airline operators are realising there is an inherent similarity with respect to key issues at airports around the world, regardless of location. There could be different answers to common problems depending on the unique circumstances at any given airport.

Based around a core philosophy of integrating business and financial planning with facilities and operations analysis, LeighFisher specialises in assisting leading private and public operators of airport infrastructure in dealing with strategic issues that underpin major investment and operational decision-making.

The company has recently worked extensively across Asia assisting airport operators to develop long-term strategies to improve financial, business and operational performance, and increase airport capacity in a sustainable way.

In doing so, LeighFisher is able to leverage many of the experiences and best practices it has gleaned from its clients around the world.