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Key strategies to maximise passenger terminal throughput and improve customer satisfaction while waiting for major developments to be delivered
This is a best-practice paper on how to maximise passenger terminal throughput and improve customer satisfaction by bridging the capacity and quality gaps that often materialise before major development projects come to fruition. The reference context comprises European regional airports with annual passenger traffic between 5 and 20 million, a single terminal configuration and its future development focused on expanding the existing terminal. The strategies presented in this paper are tailored to this specific context but are scalable and applicable to other contexts with a reduced effectiveness in some. Major developments for the expansion of existing terminals are large and complex projects often with a capacity gap in the timeframe leading to their completion caused by a variety of reasons including unforecasted growth, various delays or simply because of their late start. In order to keep accommodating the passenger growth and meeting the quality targets, these airports need to maximise their terminal throughput and improve the customer satisfaction acting at different levels and in different timescales. Bridge solutions are small- or medium-sized external interventions with a relatively short implementation time, which gain extra capacity by making available additional floor area and can be groped in three categories: existing building expansion, new temporary buildings and temporary reuse of existing buildings. Optimisations are internal reconfigurations usually with fast implementation, which gain extra capacity through modest area gain, increased layout efficiency, technological upgrades and can be groped in two categories: existing facilities reconfiguration and existing space repurposing. Bridge solutions and optimisations provide an uplift in capacity and quality but cannot be pursued everywhere for the presence of hard physical constraints, lack of space or because facilities are already too congested. Perceived quality solutions are ‘soft solutions’ with a very quick delivery time, which act on passenger perceptions of space, time, feelings and emotions and aim at improving passenger satisfaction without a physical expansion of the facility. This wide array of solutions leads to a very efficient passenger terminal with throughput greater than the capacity defined by the industry standards but still with good customer satisfaction, allowing airports to get more out of their existing physical asset maximising the passenger terminal throughput togheter with the overall organisation performance.
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Paolo Bianchi is an airport development expert focused on helping people, organisations and nations to successfully develop their airports. He has extensive international experience with 15 years in global airport development and experience ranging from consultancy to airport operators. Paolo has developed over 100 airport projects in 20+ countries, dealing with a vast range of airport sizes, from small regional and city airports to the largest and most complex mega hubs. He has in-depth knowledge of the air transport industry and specialises in front-end airport development, infrastructure strategies, asset management, master plans and passenger terminals. Paolo is currently the ‘head of infrastructure strategy and planning’ for an airport operator, and in parallel he acts as adviser, author, university lecturer, trainer and conference chairman at the global level.