Airports must rely on commercial revenue , brand-recognition, cooperation and their role in local economy to stay profitable.
The complex interdependence of airport and airlines industries including topics such as the uncertainty of global economy, EU regulations and the looming future scenario of insufficient airport capacity, were openly discussed at the Airport Cluster Finland’s 4th Annual Seminar & Exhibition.
Morgan Foulkes, the Deputy Director General of ACI Europe, paints a bleak picture of current market situation. Recent years have forced the airports to reinvent their business model. High volatility is testing the industry and highlighted by the fact that in 2012, 1228 new routes were opened, but 1030 routes were scrapped.
What is then the model for financially viable airports in the future? Mr. Foulkes emphasizes the role of profitable airports that relies on the commercial revenue with more than million passengers and a well-known brand. Small and regional airports are not viable themselves, so the existence should be validated through their role in the local economy.
The European Commission is preparing “airport package” to help increase the capacity of Europe’s airports, reduce delays and improve the airport experience for the passengers. Ville Haapasaari, the Senior Vice President of Finavia, agrees on the importance of passenger segment that is emerging strong and it is an increasing source of revenue for Finnish airports.
Mikko Sjöberg, Airport Cluster Finland Manager, stresses the importance of cooperation for the companies in the field of aviation to face the turbulent changes of the industry. “Even more so we need to support the companies and their businesses, find partners in Finland and also in Europe. For example we are participating the International Exhibition for Airport Equipment conference in October, where the aim is to connect with key players and learn about new projects.”
Olivier Bonfils, senior business advisor at Helsinki Business Hub, believes in the potential of ICT and aviation in Finland. “We now know for a fact that the companies providing ICT solutions to the aviation industry can benefit from the high level of knowhow in Helsinki region. Not only can you find personel with specific skillsets, this is also a suitable location for R&D activities”.
Airport Cluster Finland is run by Vantaa Innovation Instutute Ltd and aims to promote the growth and development of Finnish airport industry and to build global networking opportunities between different parties in the industry. Seminar was held on 18th September 2013 at at Hilton Helsinki Airport.