LOBBYING FOR REGIONAL AIRPORTS AND AIR SERVICES
A regional airport may be defined as any “non-hub” airport (regardless of passenger throughput) and air service as an air service that departs and/or lands at a regional airport.
Regional airports and air services are not only essential as transport nodes, helping to facilitate the smooth running of the EU’s single market by moving people and goods between regions, but they are also essential as generators of economic growth in their own right. Together they expand the horizon of traditional trading routes and provide a significant boost to the cities and regions that they serve. European regional airports and air services need to be considered as key elements in creating an efficient and well functioning EU transport network that facilitates trade and ensures mobility for a greater number of people. Regional aviation can play a vital role in ensuring that free movement in the EU is a reality not only for people living in major capital cities but also for EU citizens living outside of these areas, ensuring that these cities and regions enjoy not only the benefits brought about by greater mobility but also by generating tourism, providing access to new markets and by attracting greater inward economic investment.
Regional airports that are currently running below capacity could conceivably serve as congestion relievers to some heavily congested hub airports, especially for regional services. If implemented properly, this could lead to less congestion and more environmental efficiency.
Given that major hub airports are close to maximum capacity, regional airport slots should be allocated in order to attract new airlines, and promote competition, decongestion of major airports and the development of regional airports.
Template for developing existing regional airports and make them more efficient
1. Identify and Develop Airport Brand/Platform/Promise
- Conduct market research;
- Survey current travelers/stakeholders;
- Identify findings from the past airport research;
- Benchmark against similar airports/airport systems;
- Use Focus Group findings to determine Brand Promise/Marketing Messages
Identification of opportunities that differentiate and define the Airport from other airports. This will guide all future marketing and advertising messages.
2. Enhance Air Service Options and Grow Awareness and Visibility to Airlines
- Identify opportunities for growth with new carriers;
- Establish Airline/Stakeholder relationships;
- Create an Air Service Marketing Toolkit;
- Identify Event Marketing Opportunities;
- Create new Air Service Incentive;
- Program and Air Service Promotions Program
Incentive policy for the airport needs to be revised to reflect industry standards and stay competitive
3. Drive Travelers to Choose to Travel from Airport (Increase inbound and outbound Awareness)
- Traditional Marketing;
- Targeted Online Marketing Methods;
- Website and Social Media Integration/Enhancements
- Targeted Community Partnerships
- Determine Leakage and Battleground Areas
Develop recommendation of marketing and advertising tactics aimed at driving travelers to choose to travel from the airport.
4. Develop Partnerships & Build Relationships through Corporate and Community Outreach
- Identify opportunities to promote the airport at tourism/economic development events;
- Participation with the region stakeholders in tourism and trade shows;
- Develop a Corporate Travel Outreach program and explore business travel incentives and co-op airline sales opportunities.
5. Sustain Current Air Service Levels and Increase Passenger Enplanement Levels
- Conduct regular fare comparisons;
- Increase inbound traffic by partnering with regional organizations;
- Develop brand awareness with travelers and community;
- Develop & communicate the Airport brand promise
- Aggressively advertise the brand message that is developed.
Focus on both marketing efforts and current/potential customers (retention of existing and securing of new services.
6. Enhance & target communication to develop brand awareness and Evolve the Airport brand to create brand advocates
- Introduce email marketing (including target lists/messages)
- Use community events & promotions to grow e-database;
- Survey travelers via online survey tools;
- Educate community/region about what the Airport has to offer & importance/impact of airport;
- Participate in strategic regional events;
- Develop promotional item inventory.
Tie-in with regional partnership opportunities and Brand Promise
7. Enhance Airport Customer Service Offerings & the Overall Passenger Experience
- Develop customer service incentive program(s) for tenants and employees
- Develop a set of Passenger Experience
- Objectives that are focused on enhancing the brand promises that are developed within the marketing program.
Staff/Tenants: Creation of a plan of potential customer service initiatives for airport staff/tenants to encourage the enhancement of the passenger experience at Airport.
8. Increase non-aeronautical Revenue Opportunities for the Airport
- Promotional activities to increase awareness of offerings;
- Incorporation of Strategic Plan Recommendations;
- Use of new social media elements to encourage repeat visitors.
Explore rewards programs for parking, Opportunities for property development and marketing
9. Increase local government and community stakeholder perception as regional transportation asset
- Identify economic impact of Airport on community
- Utilize University support to identify, the impact that the airport has on the region;
- Use findings to increase relationships with government and community stakeholders
- Identify opportunities for earned media.
Creation of a brochure and video web link to showcase findings. Encourage more local businesses and stakeholders to follow the examples of other regions requiring travelers to use local airports.