Airport Planning, Operations and Management

Lakshmi Vadlamoodi

  1. In Airport Development planning, what is the importance of an airport master plan, what is its purpose and what are some of the challenges that may be faced in its development?

An Airport Master plan is a document which provides an overview of the airport, and discusses the long-term issues using the current existing plan (Ruiz-Celada, 2014). There are many elements that contribute towards airport development which includes environmental factors, land use, government, route development, and many other factors (Ruiz-Celada, 2014).

The Purpose of a Master plan is to provide future vision and is used to predict future problems. Master Plan should be thoroughly evaluated every five years or more often if needed (De Groot, 2017). It is also used to depict the range of cost for the airport growth, so that it helpful for planning financially (Skipp, 2006). The Master plan provides the public the need of the airport and the potential uses (“Airport Plan”, 2016).

It also provides details about the development process (or a big picture) of the airport, the precautions taken and the standards maintained (“Growth forecasts and developments objectives”, 2014).

However, there are challenging as well. Some of the major challenges faced when planning includes budgeting for buying new material, which are expensive; constantly upgrading technology trends (Glass Flight Deck); passenger forecasting (uncertainty of passenger capacity); and ultimately the revenue (Stringfellow, 2013).

For example, Sydney airport’s guiding principle is to maximize benefits for the passengers and the aviation community considering the stakeholders as well. Balancing of the activity more evenly throughout the airfield, terminals and roads reduce congestion and improve terminal infrastructure utilisation (De Groot, 2017).

Another example is Melbourne Airport’s Master Plan, which is a Mid-term Development plan. Its concept provides a snapshot of the future passenger traffic which increases to 64 million (Passengers per year) by 2033. The Master Plan also states that

the Domestic and the International terminals are being merged soon (De Groot, 2017). Therefore, Melbourne Airport uses its Master Plan to develop their airport’s revenue. Thus, a Master Plan plays a vital role in Airport Development.

  1. Explain the importance of non-aeronautical revenue for airports and the challenges faced by contemporary airports in planning for the future generation of non-aeronautical revenue?

Contemporary airports struggle to get profits if they continue to rely on their passengers and airlines for profit, hence airports are diversifying their sources of income through Non-Aeronautical Revenue (Marello, 2015).

It is the income of the airport which excludes aeronautical activity such as commercial flying, as this is a dominant source of income which provides profits for the airport business (“Non-Aeronautical Revenue”, 2013). They are acquired from sources like parking lots, Car rentals, accommodation, retail, food/beverage and duty-free shops on the airport land. They are also increasing the freight and cargo facilities to expand their sources of income (Marello, 2015). Research says that 40% of an average global airports’ revenue is derived from the Non-Aeronautical Revenue sector (“Concessionaire Analyser+”, 2016).

Increasing pressure on aeronautical revenues have been proved to be beneficial for promoting airports to further develop alternative revenue sources, which results in the increase of the profit margin (“Concessionaire Analyser+”, 2016). However, the global airports’ revenue sector will continue to face challenges ranging from pressure on passenger-driven non-aeronautical revenues to a possible oversupply of airport retail space (Lee, 2015).

Non-aeronautical sector has therefore turn out to be a key element which influences the airport’s performance mostly (“Non-aeronautical Revenue”, 2007). Car parks, Car rentals and accommodation are fast-growing sources of revenue for the airports (De Groot, 2017). A total of 22% of airport’s car park is contributed towards Non-aeronautical revenue, at Brisbane airport (De Groot, 2017).

Airports predict future passenger traffic, and the air traffic for estimating the investment in improving the infrastructure of the airport, as traffic forecasts provide criteria for both facility and financial planning (De Groot, 2017). The influence of Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) has also influenced in increasing attention on Non-aeronautical sector (“Assessing the Non-Aviation Performance”, 2008). The global airports must aim to attract new target market into the duty-free shops; food and beverage (Lee, 2015).  Also, it must aim to expand the target market further for it to increase the revenue and ultimately, the profit margin.

  1. How does the dominance of airport security challenge planning for non-aeronautical revenue generation by contemporary airport management and how can it be better managed in the future?

There are possible increased threats in the contemporary times, especially at the airports. It is said that airport security plays an important role in a passenger’s journey (Lee, 2015). Security is increasing in Aviation to make passengers feel secured and easier for them to travel. The industry is implementing many new methods of security to minimise the risk at an airport and meet the new safety standards made (“The challenge for airline security”, 2017).

Airports are always looking to improve the efficiency of the airport security. When evaluating an airport, some key elements which need to be taken account are the potential threats such as thefts and attacks, environmental protestors such as terrorist attacks – which can be harmful for the airport equipment such as the aircraft (“Improving airport security effectiveness”, 2017).

For instance, there was a ‘failed bomb attack’ in a flight from Amsterdam and was ready to land in Detroit in 2009. It was stated that the suspect was declared in the ‘Not-to-fly’ category before this flight. The investigators wonder how he was cleared from the airport security at Amsterdam (TheCostaRicaFrog, 2009). Hence why, airport security is a top priority and a challenge for most of the airports (“Security and Customs”, 2017). The global airports have developed a better security system after that incident.

It can also be a challenge because to make airports more safe and secured, the management need to invest more, thus the consequence could result in low profit margin. For improving airport security, there are a list of prohibited items which cannot be taken in the cabin luggage such as harmful substances and sharp objects. If any suspected/restricted objects are detected, then the passenger’s luggage will be individually verified (“Airport security measures”, 2017). The Airport security is a big sector for a passenger before they reach the boarding area to embark an aircraft.

Furthermore, Passengers who are proceeding to the boarding area must remove all the electronic gadgets from their luggage and scan it through separately (“Airport security measures”, 2017). Predicting the passenger traffic and future air traffic will also help in planning financially for investing in the airport security. The predictions can be obtained by major airline manufactures. Overall, there are challenges in everything, provided the necessary precautions are taken (De Groot, 2017).


Airport plan – Western Sydney Airport. (2016). Retrieved March 12, 2017, from

Airport security measures. (2017). Retrieved March 23, 2017, from

Assessing the Non-Aviation Performance of Selected US airports. (2008). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from

Concessionaire Analyser+. (2016). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from

De Groot, R. (2017). Week 1,2 & 3 Lectures. Retrieved from Griffith university 1503NSC Airport Planning, Operations and Management Lecture slides.

Growth forecasts and developments objectives. (2014). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from

Improving airport security effectiveness. (2017). Retrieved March 21, 2017,

Lee, J. (2015). Five key challenges of the global airport non-aeronautical revenues business. Retrieved from

Marello, P. (2015). Non-Aeronautical Revenue Becoming Increasingly Important at Airports. Retrieved from the Routes Online website:

Non-aeronautical Revenue in the Airport Business. (2007). Retrieved March 19, 2017, from

Non-Aeronautical Revenue. (2013). Retrieved March 22, 2017, from

Ruiz-Celada, D. (2014). Introduction to Airport Planning: The Master Plan. Retrieved from the New Aviation Insider website:

Security and Customs. (2017). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from

Skipp, A. (2006). Brisbane International Airport Master Plan, Retrieved from:

Stringfellow, A. (2013). Slideshare, Retrieved from:

The challenge for airline security. (2017). Retrieved March 25, 2017, from

TheCostaRicaFrog. (2009, December 27). Northwest flight 253 Christmas airplane bombing attempt over Detroit. Retrieved from

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