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P3s Can Help Airport Expansions and Improvements Take Flight

Scott Esposito
Master Principal Sales Consultant

U.S. infrastructure is in critical need of investment to catch up with billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, as well as replacement of aging assets. The level of investment required outpaces governments’ ability – and taxpayers’ desire – to fund it completely. Public-private partnerships (P3s) are one answer to the challenge, and they’ve had recent success in delivering critical infrastructure across the country.

After attending a recent conference, I felt inspired about the possibilities for P3s in airport construction and operation, and their ability to help with project delivery, procurement, lifecycle asset management, and technology.

Here are a few key takeaways from the P3 Airport Summit:

  • The United States lags behind leaders such as Australia in the use of P3s to drive airport improvements. This is despite the fact that the United States leads airport project investment globally, with US$114.9 billion, followed by China at US$67.1 billion.
  • Additionally, despite its large investment in airport infrastructure and its economic dominance, the United States does not have a single airport among the top 25, as ranked by air travelers. U.S. airports first appear on Skytrax’s Top 100 list at No. 32, with Denver International Airport.
  • Along with expanded opportunities, P3s bring additional complexity to project management, as well as additional requirements for transparency across public and private organizations.
  • Collaboration—enabled by technology—is essential for effective management and accountability.

Airports need to continually update their operations to remain commercially competitive.

Planned improvementsin the United States and abroadare sweeping, ranging from efficiency improvements in passenger security processes; IT system upgrades facilitating cybersecurity and physical security; parking facility improvements; and transformation of terminals into shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences.

In the United States, many airports are playing catch-up in providing modern amenities to customers. The airports are often not equipped to undertake these extensive upgrades.

Airports leveraging P3s are able to shift the risk associated with designing, building, managing, operating and/or maintaining non-flight-related infrastructure to one or more other entities. This enables the airport to focus on what it does besttransportation.

The airport still owns the non-core infrastructure, such as retail complexes, and it isn’t absolved of the risk, but the partnering organization is responsible for managing that risk day to day.

Essentially, the P3 model plays to the strengths of the partners. The airport handles the operations that are essential to air flightthe terminals and the gatesand moves customers efficiently and securely through the facility.

The partner or partners handle the operations that are essential to customer service but are not fundamental to flight. These include constructing airport expansions, building and operating stores, restaurants, parking structures, and rental car facilities.

While P3s facilitate the delivery of critical infrastructure, they also bring new challenges. P3s need tools that enable collaboration across multiple organizations and visibility into project development and execution, from the airport owner to the partners to the contractors.

Modern project management platforms and tools can help airport owners and managers communicate, optimize project planning and accelerate correction or mitigation when a problem is identified.

For large, complex airport construction enterprises, Oracle Construction and Engineering provides powerful, easy-to-use solutions for prioritizing, planning, and managing projects.

Oracle also offers a digital delivery project platform that enables timely and accurate collaboration across owner and contractor teams, supporting storage, distribution, and management of documentation, accelerating workflows and facilitating enforcement of deadlines.

After attending the P3 Airport Summit, I’m convinced more than ever that P3s are an attractive option for airport infrastructure expansion and improvement. Robust project management solutions can help ensure their success.

Visit here to learn more about improving capital efficiency in airport infrastructure investment.

Stay tuned! Connect with your peers and share best practices for efficiently and effectively running a seamless airport project at the next Oracle Aviation Roundtable in early December 2019. Details to follow.

Explore how you can deliver project success with Oracle Construction and Engineering.

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