The Battle of Airports

It is no big secret that the aviation industry is run by just a handful of Goliaths; who, are NOT fighting to survive. On the contrary, these big boys are expending energy and assets attempting to ensure that medium sized and small companies do not take off; reflecting motives of a personal, political, tactical or commercial nature. Among the actors are increasingly big airports.

Non-hub airports tend to handle their valued clients with special care  /  source: mkt
Non-hub airports tend to handle their valued clients with special care / source: mkt

The traditional, current (and developing) trade routes for consumer goods, the geo-political climate combined with continental resources are just some of the challenges related to transportation today. After speaking with pilots, drivers, business professionals and operational specialists, the jury is in: Extra-Large organizations use their power, like financial resources and political clout, among other things, to force smaller ones out and to usurp the benefits of their labors. In most cases this turns out NOT to be fiscally sound or sustainable long-term (especially for a Goliath), but the consequences can be and have been devastating for smaller organizations in the short-term.

Paradigm-shift
Smaller organizations work hard to offer tailored solutions to major airlines, global shipping organizations and related enterprises. They work even harder maintaining top quality and customer satisfaction. The business relationship begins, evolves and grows. Success - at least in part - can be attributed to "thinking global and acting local," which works, when applied. This takes on a very special meaning in this industry. The demand for comprehensive services, around the world - around the clock, has increased and shows no sign of slowing down. Community support, innovative and cost effective solutions, a culture of cooperation as well as fulfilling specific market demands IS the diversification that the industry always needs - a paradigm-shift that started in the early nineties and is a part of the “new status quo.”

 

Demand for tailored services
The secret to success for regional airports is not in the fight for supremacy (fueled by Goliath) instead consistent evolution, flexibility and to strengthen their unique ability to tailor services to customer needs and industry requirements. The major airlines currently flying to Rhineland-Palatinate’s picturesque Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, just one of many, now know about the advantages and have stopped engaging in the costly war of congestion and restriction and settle for nothing less than “top quality” at fair and sustainable rates.

Northern Italy’s Brescia Airport offers customers 24/7/365 service  /  source:  VBS
Northern Italy’s Brescia Airport offers customers 24/7/365 service / source: VBS

The benefits of the cooperation between logistics companies, airlines, airports and cargo organizations truly rely on dedicated people. CFG has spoken with many different groups of people about their work and why they like what they do. The answer is… the people. The working hours are long but the job is satisfying and quite diverse. Some people we spoke to told us that the “travel industry” is usually in the spotlight and that the “cargo industry” is still waiting for its fairy god-mother to arrive – sort of a Cinderella story, don’t you think.


Also important, but not surprising is that most people are quite aware that in the battle for supremacy - that still rages on - that the spoils of war are just NOT what they used to be.

Strong local support
The working community, be it at Hahn or others like Maastricht, Billund or Brescia, to name just a few, is connected to their homeland and region of residence. This even results in grassroots movements, as seen at Hahn, where the neighboring communities strongly support the airport management and their aim to attract additional traffic. Could one imagine this to happening at big Rhine-Main Airport or Paris CDG? Not really! The support of the employees and the local population is essential for levying future potential such as financial investments - to increase the amount of travelers and the volume of freight going to and departing from the region and its airport. The win/win mindset includes an organization’s ability to predict and help drive market demand, maintaining the highest quality operationally as well as corporate social responsibility. It is easier than one might think.

Michael Taweel

Write a comment

Comments: 4
  • #1

    Heike Herrmann (Tuesday, 30 September 2014 12:06)

    There's a lot of good pros and cons throughout this article, very well written.
    The key to success is a consistent further development , flexibility and its unique ability to adapt services to meet customer needs...We agree!
    This Articel shows refreching different angles....Bigger is not always Better. Great! Posted this on my Facebookside and shared with my Colleagues...hope thats ok. Thanks

  • #2

    Heike Herrmann (Tuesday, 30 September 2014 12:18)

    There's a lot of good pros and cons throughout this article, very well written.
    The key to success is a consistent further development, flexibility and its unique ability to adapt services to meet customer needs...We agree!
    This Article shows refreshing different angles....Bigger is not always Better. Great!

  • #3

    Rosi Milligan (Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:20)

    A very nicely written depiction of the situation as is. Very good! Community support is a wonderful idea.... also on a global scale. It There are too many hubs that leave more remote areas without direct access. Supporting the region also benefits the economy surrounding it. I worked at a large international airport for the operating company many years and one of the goals was to buy smaller airports. Thank you!

  • #4

    Dirk Görner (Monday, 20 October 2014 08:15)

    Very good article with a perfect description of David´s strongest weapon: dedicated people.
    Excellent communication is a basis for fast reaction and finding out the customer´s real need. I worked for many smaller companies in several branches and we were a real pain for the Goliaths.
    As you finally say "It is easier than one might think" - probably too easy to put it from theory into practise sometimes.
    Thanks and go on !