Handling increased demand as people return to the skies
How can airports effectively manage the return of passengers?
Foreign holidays are calling out to many. As more countries are added to the Government’s green list, demand for flights will increase. For airports that have struggled throughout the pandemic, this is a welcome development. However, plans must be in place to cope with the return of holidaymakers.
By following these top tips, airports can ensure they’re ready for takeoff:
1. Prepare to contend with constant change
Aviation has become an unpredictable industry, with the Government’s traffic light system leading to changes at short notice. With restrictions continually altering, effective capacity management is more important than ever.
Scenario planning is an essential part of this, ensuring each traffic light colour has its own dedicated processes to minimise delays and improve safety. Areas to consider include airport security and passport control, where the likelihood of long queues is greater.
2. Keep staffing levels agile
With passenger footfall and revenues down throughout the pandemic, airports have had to make use of the furlough scheme, and in some cases, make staff redundant.
However, now that passenger numbers are rising again, airports need to consider how to keep staffing levels agile. This may require flexible contracts or outsourcing temporary staff, until consistency returns.
3. Incorporate Covid processes
Testing, Covid passports (if introduced) and the continuation of the traffic light system all have the potential to trigger delays. These will need to be incorporated into daily operations to avoid long-term issues.
Although social distancing is set to be removed from 19th July, airports should still factor this into the layout of the airport, should this date be pushed back or social distancing reintroduced.
4. Ensure passengers are in the loop
Passengers should also be provided with information regarding any forms or tests that must be completed prior to their flight. Effective communication will be vital, so platforms such as the airport’s website, social media channels and SMS messages should be used to keep passengers informed.
A return to foreign travel is positive news for airports, but they must prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead. By keeping operations flexible, and ensuring plans are in place for every scenario, airports can make the most of the long-awaited holiday season.
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Published: Jul 1, 2021
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