Improving the Efficiency of Airport Surface Operations
Improving the Efficiency of Airport Surface Operations
Air travel has seen an increase in the number of people using it as the preferred means of movement across countries or continents. Over the years, there have been many changes in technical and tactical issues affecting the airports. The ability of an airport to adapt to the changing demands in the airline industry either renders it as a modern and suitable airport or an airport that is not a favorite of many people. Many factors can be used to consider the severity of an airport in terms of adapting to these changes. People base their judgment on various issues like delays, cancellation of flights taxing jams and space to determine the quality and effectiveness of the airport. This paper compares two airports in different states, in the United States of America that are the best and worst respectively. This is in terms of their effective surface operations and modernization of their operations. The difference between these airports comes from the modernization of one of them and the lack of modernization in the other making ne efficient and the other inefficient. Due to lack of modernization, the airport is facing many challenges including cancelation of flights, delays and congestions of taxis. There are various ways to solve this, and it does not only entail changing the airport surface operation management, but also entails taking measures to modernize the airport and reduce taxi-in and taxi-out time. Doing this, will transform the airline industry and the airport in general that will in turn improve the country’s economy as there will be less flight cancelation, improved time management and wastage of fuel by taxis while waiting for passengers in the airports (Wilke, Majumdar & Ochieng, 2014).
El Dorado International Airport is located in Bogota Colombia it is an international Airport. The airport is one of the world’s top fifty busiest airports in terms of passenger movement, cargo traffic, traffic movements and movement of aircrafts. Being the largest and most modern airport in Colombia makes it the best hub for the movement in and out of the country. The airport is under the management of Operadora Aeroportuaria International (OPAIN) that is a group of engineers and constructors from Columbia and AG. This airport accounts for almost fifty percent of Colombia’s air traffic making it an important economic and political asset. It is vital to note also that the airport has the largest landing field; hence it has the fastest runway, and it is located at the best spot in the city where it has access to the fastest highways. Unlike other airports that majorly rely on the use of taxis to take passengers from the airport to their destinations, El Dorado has busses called the ‘Feeders” that transport people to the different parts of the city. This is effective in terms of management of traffic in the different parts of the airport. It is also effective in reducing the number of taxis in and out of the airport as it can move a large number of people at the same time. This saves costs on fuel and wastage of space that taxis require for parking. The layout of the airport as designed in the 1950s was the best as it provided a section for every activity in the airport without having jams when it was avoidable. The airport was designed with different floors where each floor accommodated different actions. Floor operations were allocated the first floor where taxiing, maintenance of platforms, parking, halls for passengers and other amenity buildings were done (Dillingham, 2007).
The airport recorded a high number of passengers in 1978, and this raised concerns over the ability of the airport to be in a good position to handle the growing number of passengers visiting and leaving the country. The airport took initiatives to expand their runways by constructing more terminals as the Puente Aereo. The airport also expanded its baggage section to accommodate and ensure the swift transition of baggage from one point to the other. The airport opened up its main hub that allows connection of flights between different locations. With the increasing number of people visiting the airport, it went on with its modernization efforts by constructing exclusive check in counters for people on transit. The airport also ensured that there were buses that operated internally between different points in the airport (Record of decision for O'Hare modernization at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, 2005).
The construction of the bridge or Puente Aereo gave the airport a chance to create a streamline in their operations by utilizing space previously used by customs and other immigration officers to be used by passengers as gates and lounges. This increased the efficiency of the airport and the accessibility of the offices by the passengers. Currently, the airport is still doing major modernized renovations in the terminals called T1 that divides the international and the domestic concourses to reduce conflicts between the two respectively. The terminal has three separate lounges, rental car facilities, luggage storage, and Wi-Fi services for their clients. The terminal also contains various check-in points at strategic places that ensure reduced congestions among the passengers. The immigration lanes are also expanded to ensure that express lanes were fully accommodated (Wilke, Majumdar & Ochieng, 2014). The moving walkways, elevators, and even escalators ensure swift and fast movement across the terminal. On the other hand, the Chicago O'Hare International Airport that is also referred to as the Chicago International Airport is not modernized. This airport is located in the Northwestern area of Chicago Illinois, and its largest airline in the airport is United Airlines or United Express. As compared to Eldorado International Airport, Chicago International Airport requires development to ensure that it ensures free flow of taxis, and maintenance of floor operations. The airport has twice been honored as the best airport in northern America but is one of the worst airports in terms of flight cancellation. Flight cancellations are frequent in the airport with over a sixth of the national cancellation occurring in the airport. The airport is under the management of the City of Chicago Department of Aviation (Wilke, Majumdar & Ochieng, 2014).
Unlike, El Dorado, which was constructed as a passenger transportation airport, Chicago Airport was constructed during the World War II to assist in the transportation of goods to different destinations. The airport served the demands of the military and did not receive any renovations until 1950s when congestions in other airports, in Chicago forced authorities to improve the airport and expand it for future uses. The first commercial flights to flow from the airport took place in 1955. The airport was not fast in catching up with nosiest airports in the region, as its growth was not well structured. The airport, however, had begun improvements in its terminals in an effort to come up with enough space to deal with the growing demands from other parts of the country. The movement of traffic from the Midway Airport did not make things simple the airport. It became one of the world’s busiest airports and over the years; the numbers doubled making it harder for the airport to cope with the traffic than it did before (Baldwin, 1980).
The airport is still in almost the same state it was in before. Flight cancelations are still common, and this is due to the issue with maintenance and expansion of its runways and other operation features to a modernized state. The airport has a long way to go in ensuring that its facilities are accessible to those who require them. Currently, the airport authorities’ are working on lawns, and they are using animals to feed on the grass due to the inaccessibility of some of these parts to traditional lawn machines. This shows and explains the reasons why the airport is one the airports with most flight cancellations. The taxis in the airport spend much time in and out. This creates traffic congestions as the runways and streets are not well designed to accommodate the numerous people using the airport (Baldwin, 1980).
Issues to be considered in the modernization process
There are various issues that need to be taken into consideration before implementing or taking any step towards modernization of airports. One of these issues is the costs that will be incurred. It is not easy to take major steps and transform how the airports operate. Apart from the finances, technological changes that are evident in how things keep on changing with the introduction of modern ways of doing things has to be considered. Technological changes have a huge impact on the sustainability and efficiency of surface operations. It is, therefore, important to look forward and predict possible changes in technology and make the plans as flexible as possible. Political issues may also hinder the adaption of various policies by the airport authorities to modernize the airport. Some of the airports are under the management of county governments. This means that major decisions have to be approved by the political figures. This may be an issue when it comes to major decision making processes (Schot, 2010).
I reckon that there are political and economic limitation in this matter, but one should take into consideration the benefits that will arise from the modernization of the airport (Schot, 2010). The effects of congestions in the airports are numerous. It does not only cause inconveniences to the passengers who have to move from one point to the other. It has political and economic limitations that would be easily avoided if these congestions and delays are solved. The major and immediate effects of congestions in airports is the flight delays, cancellation or rescheduling of flights. It is also common to find that some passengers miss their flights as they try to connect their flights in hubs. This makes it inconvenient for them. This is even worse when one is one a business trip, then they miss their flight and they are forced to wait for another flight this costs the individual his or her time and money. Disappointments are also numerous among passengers when they have their flights cancelled or rescheduled. They lose trust in the airport to offer timely and efficient services. Most opt to use alternative airports instead of sticking with the one with many issues. This costs the airport a lot of money as people learn about its bad reputation. Everyone has that one airport they smile when they hear its name and another one that makes them frowns. This depends on the services offered in such a facility (Schot, 2010).
The economic effects of congestions in airports are numerous. Many economic meetings are cancelled. However, the time wasted by taxi not only costs the taxi owners and drivers, but also affects the overall economy of United States of America. The taxis waste much fuels as they wait to go in and out of the airports. They also spend a lot of time in and out though this has decreased over the years. An increasing number of people in airports mean that there are congestions in the terminals. As a result, the taxis spend much time trying to move in and out of the areas with the congested population. This is not safe for the passengers and the airport as a whole. With the increasing terror and security issues, it causes an issue when an airport is not able to deal with a number of people going in and out of the airport. Security may slack due to the huge number of people and the amount of work that needs to be done when there is not enough space and time to do so. The congestions also mean that the airport lacks the facilities necessary to ensure that passengers move from one point to the other in the airport. If there were no congestions in the terminals, the taxis would move in and out of the airports in real quick time. There would be no wastage of gas or time waiting for clearances (Visser & Hebly, 2009). Investors rely on timely flights to make it to their destinations. This also shows them that they can rely on the mode of transportation to conduct various businesses. However, when their flights are cancelled or delayed, then they are discouraged from making investments, as they fear that these issues facing airport surface operation will result in losses for their businesses (Visser & Hebly, 2009).
Politics in the aviation industry
Some of the key players in terms of political issues include the senators, governors and lobby groups that have an interest in the proper management and success of the airport. It is, therefore, upon political leaders to take a step and come up with relevant policies that will enhance aviation efficiency and modernization of these airports. By looking at the effects of congestions, political leaders should be in a position to address this issue by coming up with policies spearheading the process of modernization. This will not only make aviation safe, but also improve the country’s economy in a huge way. When politicians ignore the issues facing modernization and congestions of airports, they seem to forget their role in changing and making the society a better place than it is currently. This means that the political scene is also affected by the congestions and lack of modernized airports. The congestions in airports and cancellation of flights give the country a bad reputation especially when their flights are cancelled or delayed (Cruzado, 2008).
Politics also play a key role as the airports are also under the management of county officials who have a stake in the decision making processes regarding various issues affecting the airport. It may be difficult to convince the political bodies of the need to modernize the airport. They are the key stakeholders who will approve of the modernization efforts by the airport authorities (Cruzado, 2008).
Recommendations to the commissioner
The commissioner must work to adapt a new way of airport surface operational efficiency if it hopes to meet with the increasing number of people and flights in their fields that will guarantee modernization of the airport. There have been many changed in the preference of people in terms of their choice of travel means. Unlike in the past where few people utilized airports and aircrafts as a means of transportation, people nowadays utilize and exploit the airports. It is, therefore, crucial that airport commissioners adopt a modern way of surface operations to ensure that they meet these hinges. The project is a prudent alternative that will change the way airports operate in the country (Burgain, Kim & Feron, 2013).
The need for safe air travel does not begin and end with a qualified and experienced pilot and co-pilot, it entails different efforts on different levels to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Firstly, I would recommend that the airport come up with a data collection system that will gather information from different floor sources. The data gathered over time will give an insight on the areas of the airport that need re-designing. As such, the airport requires expansion and modernization, but it is crucial that they have precise details of the key areas they need to work. This is with the aim of transforming the airport to a modern and efficient facility that serves and meets the demands of the passengers and the political and economic sector. Through partnerships with different stakeholders in the aviation industry, the airport can come out with support tools that determine the how effective and efficient the surface operations are working (Burgain, Kim & Feron, 2013).
The airport can do this by going into partnership with some small business corporations like Mosaic ATM Inc that provides software is that can assist in the data collection process. The software offers help in the analysis of how different surface operations are going on in the airport. It goes a long way in helping organizations come up with evidence-based decision-making on what designs will create the best conditions for the airport in the future and the present. With the help of the software’s, airports are in a better position to handle any emergency that may arise. This includes issues like delays as it helps the airport management to come up with refined and well-defined operational procedures that will be efficient and effective in solving delays. The software also manages large quantities of data for an organization and the airport can utilize the software to collect data about the key areas of surface operations that is slowing down the smooth working of different parts of the airport. I strongly recommend that the airport authorities and political figures who have an influence on the decision making process in the airport consider this issue as it has a crucial role in the political and economic fields in the country. It will not only make surface operations in the airport manageable, but also create and effective and efficient airport that carries out its functions without any hitches (Burgain, Kim & Feron, 2013).
In this part, I recommend that the airport commissioner come up with an efficient transportation system that is environmentally friendly and effective in performing its duty. The time spent by taxis going in and out of airports is considerably high. However if an Airport comes up with a perfect plan as adapting the use of buses as Dorado Airport, it will help ease the traffic jams of in and out in the taxi usage. The ideal thing I would recommend is the expansion of check in and checks out points for the taxis that will increase their abilities to pick their customers and leave as soon as they arrive. This means that a secluded portion of the airport has to be created for the taxis to wait in line. It is crucial to understand that taxis play a crucial economic role in the country, and it is not wise to banish them from the airports. However, adapting effective and functional means of hanging their time of taxi- in and taxi out will be perfect, as it will save not only the airport’s reputation but also their businesses (Burgain, Kim & Feron, 2013).
Movement of passengers across different parts of the airport is crucial. However, it is also important to note that passengers on transit, those who want domestic flights and those wanting international flights mingle. This creates congestions especially if they are all checked at the same check out points. This becomes and inconvenience for the passengers who are on transit and may even miss their connecting flights due to the delays in the checkout points. In order to solve this issue, I recommend that different checkpoints be made for the different destinations people have. This will ease traffic in the airport as everyone will be checked at the right point; hence less time wastage and reduced flight cancellations. This also requires the adoption of escalators and walking stairs to ensure fast and swift movement in the different parts of the airport in an effort to minimize time wastage (Cruzado, 2008).
Long term guidance
In order to make sure that the recommendations are effective once implemented, I would advise the commissioner to come up with a team of qualified personnel to oversee the implementation and evaluation of the project. This will help the commissioner to keep up with the changes that may arise due to the changes in technological and financial issues. The commissioner can also ensure that everything runs according to plan by keeping a close eye on the various stages of the implementation plan (Cruzado, 2008).
Change brought by the project
The decision to modernize airports will change transportation in the future. One change will be the effective and reliable air travel. Modernization will reduce cancelation of flights, delays and closure of airports for various reasons. Through modernization, the airport will be in a good position to meet the demands of the consumers. The modernization will also go a long way in improving the environment. Resources will be managed well, and less energy wasted by taxis they wait for the passengers in the airport (Cruzado, 2008).
Congestion in airports is a major issue. It does not only lead to flight delays and cancelation, but to economic constraints on various parties. There are various things that can be done to solve the issues. Concerned parties and stakeholders should come together to find ways of resolving the issue. This does not entail blame games, but requires the use of quality data collected over time to make decisions that will transform and modernize the airports. Once all the data required has been collected, then it will be easier for the management and stakeholders to come up with proper designs and expansion plans that will assist in the modernization process than it would be without quality and sufficient data. The recommendations given above can go a long way in helping change the situation. It will serve as guidance to the stakeholders as they go about making the necessary moves to implement the necessary change measures. Everyone in the industry including politicians and airport managers have to work towards modernization of the airport in order to do away with the negative issues arising from the congestions (Cruzado, 2008).
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