Air Service Access Consulting
What Sets Boyd Group International – And Our Clients – Ahead…
The Objective: Access. Not Studies
“Air Service Development” Programs Are Based On An Airline Industry That Doesn’t Exist
The problem with ASD programs is that they are based on near-total misconceptions of the realities of the air transportation system. They tend to start with assuming that there are lots of airlines and all that needs to be done is a “study” – before any consideration is given to the strategies of the now-consolidated airline industry.
We get some criticism for this statement.
But with the few airlines left in a consolidated industry, it’s clear from the start which may or may not be targets for additional air service. Any domestic ASD program today that starts out without this step is ethically-suspect.
The Airline System Is The First Analysis. It is unfortunate that much of the traditional ASD approaches are still predicated on the inaccurate belief that airlines chase passenger volume, and that if there’s a community need, there will be airlines – plural – interested.
All that’s needed, according to obsolete ASD programs, is that the “right” studies be accomplished, “compelling data” presented, as long as the community is supportive, or as long as “industry standard practices” are pursued, airlines will come running. The unfortunate fallacy is the belief that developing air service is mostly a matter of doing the “right” things.
However, if the client airport or community is fully educated on the structure, strategies, fleets and route systems of the airline system, it could be lethal to a lot of the programs now being foisted on these clients.
All that being said, it’s still critically important that communities and airports continue to focus on assuring that they are accessible from the rest of the globe. But today, more studies and surveys and even speed-date meetings with airlines are no longer effective in themselves.
But by no means does the mean giving up. In the global economy, the reality quite the opposite.
It means that a new approach is needed. Particularly for those airports now without scheduled service at the local airport.
Okay. There’s A New Environment. How Do We Optimize It?
The questions – for which BGI has the answers – are simply where do communities go from here, in light of these new realities, and how do communities make sure they remain part of the global economy?
The first step is dealing with reality. No diversions, no exceptions. No evasions.
The fact is, with just nine full-schedule airlines left, and each with its own, specific strategy and fleets, it doesn’t take a massive “study” to determine which airlines are targets for a specific airport, and which are not.
For example, vague – and typically-seen – goals such as “getting service to Chicago” (when the target carriers are already obvious), or “more nonstop flights” or “recruit a low-fare carrier” are immediate indications of obsolete ASD, because they imply – or are based on – the belief that there are lots of airlines out there to choose from.
There are two certain airlines, for example, that can serve Chicago from a small or mid-size non-connecting hub airport – AA and UA. That’s it. No mystery. Two contact points. No need for a $30K market analysis to find a carrier. The hocus-pocus of “luring” just “an airline” is outside the reality of the airline business, but too often the “objective” of consultant schemes.
This is the reason that new approaches are needed for all communities – large and small, with or without scheduled flights.
Economic Imperative: All of America Must Have Global Access –
With Or Without Local Scheduled Air Service.
BGI believes that there is a very bright economic future for virtually all US airports – from global portals to regional hubs, to small regional gateways to – yes – small airports that today have no scheduled service.
Here’s where we part company from “ambient thinking:” every region of the nation must plan for access to and from the global economy, and those that cannot support economically-viable scheduled service at the local airport have regional alternatives. Those airports that can support scheduled flights need to assure that it remains viable and connective.
Today, too often ASD is approached on two very incorrect and obsolete assumptions:
Obsolete Assumption #1: There’s always another airline to come to town, or to add more capacity. All that’s needed is the “right study,” or “community support,” or heat maps of where tickets are booked, and these revelations will convince an airline to enter or expand.
Fact: There are only nine full-schedule airlines left in the US. Each has its own set of strategies, its own fleet mix, and, generally, its own market “turf.” Airlines don’t chase more volume, they chase revenues consistent with their fleets and corporate strategy. Note also, that US airline strategies – particularly the four main network carriers (AA, DL, UA, WN) are not in domestic growth modes, and each will not usually expand outside of its “territory.” The point is that any “study” or ASD program that is aimed simply at “more” – without a clear identification of the target carrier -is obsolete.
Obsolete Assumption #2: If the local airport doesn’t have scheduled flights, it’s cut off from the world.
Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth, and consumers are proving it. Not only is is obsolete and contrary to economic realities, it is denigrating to the economic value of such communities. Regionalization – a concept first illuminated by BGI – is a fact. We know when scheduled air service is outside the realm of possibility – after all, we work with airlines in strategic issues. In those cases we assist non-served communities in recognizing and embracing this reality, instead of trying to deny it with “studies” to attract airline service that won’t come, or paying to support air service with single-engine flights consumers won’t use.
The New Approach: Assure Air Access From The Global Economy
In this new airline industry environment, it’s still important to remain vigilant for new opportunities, but they are only going to exist within the realm of airline strategic realities. But if business people cannot access the region from major US and global commercial centers, that region is non-competitive in the global economic environment.
Our 21st Century Approach: Communities that can’t support flights to the air transportation network must still have access to it. That means alternative planning directions – including embracing regionalization, and recognizing that the automobile is an increasing part of the air transportation picture. Trying to reverse this with placebo approaches, such as non-branded subsidized flights that don’t connect to the rest of the world – will always come up a cropper.
This is where Boyd Group International comes in. Our focus is not “ASD” aimed at trying to recreate the past, but in assisting airports – including those without local scheduled flights – in finding new approaches to access.
We call it ASAP – Air Service Access Planning – And It’s Exclusive To Us.
We start by utilizing our unrivaled aviation forecast and research expertise. Remember, air service planning is not all that we do – and our depth of aviation research is the reason we’re more effective in bringing real-world results to our airport and community clients.
We Work With Futurist, Visionary Communities
Is your community truly visionary? If so, let’s talk about the future. Even if you have no scheduled passenger service, we can assist in crafting community/stakeholder programs to illuminate current and potential access options.
Visionary communities know that airlines today have clear and specific strategies, and visionary communities target the carriers that represent a fit between the community’s needs and – critically – the airline’s strategies. No exceptions.
ASAP Looks Over The Planning Horizon
With the wide aviation forecast and research expertise of Boyd Group International, our ASAP Program clients receive a comprehensive Air Service Access Matrix Analysis – that candidly isolates the market’s strengths, weaknesses, revenue streams, and – importantly – the specific airline systems that should be targeted.
In some cases, it’s another airline brand. In others, its more capacity or another hub-access flight from an incumbent. Or maybe just attracting travel company flights (read: Allegiant). One thing we always provide: the unvarnished fact, as is, where is.
Your Air Service Access Planning Matrix – A Complete Clear Picture
At Boyd Group International, we give our clients a complete, clear, and accurate picture of their strengths, weaknesses and competitive position within the realities of the airline industry. Today and even more so in the future, it’s not just what the community “wants” – it’s what the airline industry can deliver within the context of fleet, strategic and competitive realities.
The core of Boyd Group International’s ASAP programs is the development of a comprehensive seven-step matrix measuring the key components necessary to gauge a community’s real air service situation. Each factor is analyzed and quantified – based on the research and forecasting expertise of BGI. We then provide clear conclusions and recommendations.
1. Define & Identify Current Air Service Metrics
At Boyd Group International, we utilize Aviation DataMiner – the most advanced industry business intelligence and forecast system – to determine all the key metrics and what they represent competitively in the marketplace. Average fares, yield by market, traffic capture by airline, load factors, fleet composition, and more. This gives a clear data foundation of how airlines are performing in the market. No fluff – just hard market intelligence.
2. In-Depth Analysis of Traffic Composition
Aviation DataMiner is then used to determine the revenue mix that the community generates – outbound and inbound. We analyze the fare levels, yield vulnerabilities based on each specific incumbent, and the O&D shares. From these analyses, the airport’s traffic strengths as they match each airline’s known and expected strategies are illuminated.
The current market O&D – including hub-feed performance – is reviewed and market shortfalls and opportunities are identified. No, we don’t do “consumer surveys.” While they may look valuable, they have two fatal flaws. First they are unscientific – which makes the results anecdotal only. But secondly, they don’t change the fact that it’s airline industry strategies – not community desires – that are the route and market decision factors in airline planning departments.
Notice that we do not typically rely on various sources of booking data. The reason is simple: they tend to be partial, incomplete, and often misleading.
3. In-Depth Analysis of Schedule
Our data and business intelligence systems have enormous analytic capabilities to isolate where current schedules may or may not maximize revenue generation of the community to the incumbents. Key vulnerabilities and opportunities are isolated and quantified.
4. Air Carrier Review
This is where Boyd Group International’s in-depth knowledge of airline strategies comes to bear. Remember, airlines call on us for strategic planning. Aircraft manufacturers, too. And we’re the #1 aviation forecasting firm. All of this give Boyd Group International a depth of planning expertise that’s the competitive edge for our airport clients.
In the Air Carrier Review, we outline where incumbents are strong and where they are vulnerable. We relate the known and expected strategies of each to the strengths and vulnerabilities of the client. Finally, we do something that “traditional” air service development programs shy away from: we identify which carrier systems should be targeted, and which would be a waste of time. No vague “more routes” or “service to the East Coast.” Specific targets.
Our data and business intelligence systems have enormous analytical capabilities to isolate where current schedules may or may not maximize revenue generation of the community to the incumbents. Key vulnerabilities and opportunities are isolated and quantified.
5. Fares & Cost Of Travel
Too often, communities are misled into believing that getting “affordable” air service is just a matter of recruiting a “low fare” carrier. At BGI, we don’t mislead our clients that way. At most small and mid-size airports, that expected fare relief isn’t coming. Southwest, for example, has actually dropped service where its passenger base was over 300,000 enplanements.
The ASAP program candidly reviews the fare situation, along with issues such as load factors, hub access, future fleet changes, and other issues that go into the fare mix. From that, we provide clear options that can be pursued in regard to fares, and their relationship with the community. Hard honest data and information are delivered – not wishful thinking.
6. Service Quality Issues
One of the major problems facing many communities – large and small – is quality of the air service product. Particularly at smaller airports, poor customer service and/or lack of schedule reliability can literally drive consumers away. Things like cancellation rates, on-time performance, baggage handling and local customer service quality are factors that can make or break local air service viability.
7. Schedule Quality Review
Often, schedule adjustments can make a huge difference in attracting passenger traffic. This is particularly true in regard to meeting connecting banks at the airline’s hub-site.
BGI has advanced schedule analysis tools, not to mention data from our partner Innovata, LLC, which is the only “official” source of airline schedule and capacity data.
Delivering The Matrix
From the seven steps above, BGI professionals deliver a clear, concise and immediately-actionable Air Service Access Plan.
An ASAP analysis from Boyd Group International focuses on hard data and hard realities of the airline industry.
If you’re seeking to get beyond the worn-out concepts of “Air Service Development” and get with the future, we’ve got your number. So dial ours at (303) 674-2000, and get a head start on your competition. Or just click here and send us a quick note.