Building a Brighter Future for Airports

Related Expertise: Travel and Tourism, Airline Industry

Building a Brighter Future for Airports

By Saurabh BakliwalSantiago CastagninoJulien VialadeAleksandra Bozic Mazzi, and Andrés Quintela

The pandemic has changed the status quo for airports, wiping out more than $100 billion in revenues for the global industry in 2020 and cutting airport traffic by 60%. Although traditionally viewed as safe, profitable assets, airports now face ongoing pandemic uncertainties, airline bankruptcies, low foot traffic—including a potentially permanent reduction in business travel—and long-term sustainability challenges.

In response, airports need to further reduce their costs and adapt their economic model to face new pressures from regulators and other stakeholders. In addition, they should:

  • Implement a smart-airport strategy that includes digitizing much of the customer’s airport journey
  • Develop better and more-frequent forecasts
  • Adapt and update secondary revenue streams
  • Actively encourage sustainability initiatives

By adopting our eight-point strategy, airports can build a stronger future.

The pandemic is changing the future for airports. In the first ten months of 2020 alone, it wiped out more than $100 billion in combined airport revenues globally and cut airport traffic by 60%. And although airports have traditionally been viewed as safe, profitable assets, investors are rethinking that perspective as uncertainty clouds their future. In the short term, airports face travel restrictions, airline bankruptcies, and low foot traffic. Longer term, a potentially permanent reduction in business travel and an increasing preference for sustainable air travel pose challenges.

But proactive airports can emerge from the pandemic stronger. The following slideshow lays out an eight-point strategy for facing the ongoing uncertainty and potential headwinds, identifying and pursuing opportunities, and building a stronger future.