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Strategies to Avoid Turbulence as Airport Infrastructure Investment Takes Off

In early June of this year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced an award of 432 grants totaling US$840 million to fund infrastructure projects at 381 airports around the country.

This total includes funding for runway reconstruction and rehabilitation, construction of firefighting facilities, and the maintenance of taxiways, aprons, and terminals.

This is only the first allotment of $3.18 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for airports across the United States. What’s more, the grants are merely a fraction of an estimated US$737.3 billion of capital investment currently earmarked for airports around the world.

Diversity in airport projects

The number and diversity of projects comprising that hefty investment is striking. Take the Chicago O’Hare Airport expansion project as a microcosm. It’s a more than $8 billion program that includes the expansion of an international terminal, replacement of the baggage handling system, and many smaller, interlocking projects.

The Airports Council International-North America reports that 66% of projected U.S. investment in airport development through 2023 will be to accommodate growth in passenger and cargo activity. The changes are sweeping, particularly in the arena of passenger experience.

Transforming traditional terminals

To grow revenues, improve investor returns, and enhance the overall passenger satisfaction, many international airports are transforming their traditional terminals into leading-edge shopping, dining, and even entertainment experiences centers. U.S. airports are beginning to follow suit.

There is intense focus on improving the efficiency and reducing the hassle of security lines and checkpoints. Even airport parking facilities are evolving. Ride-sharing services reduce demand for onsite parking, and new types of vehicles are changing needs, including electric and hybrid vehicles that need charging stations, as well as the development of autonomous vehicles.

Parking ramps are becoming more than just steel and concrete. Then there are vital projects the public doesn’t see, or which it takes for granted, such as IT system upgrades, for example. Airport facilities need to accommodate continuous cybersecurity improvement alongside physical security and access control.

Emerging technologies such as biometrics, blockchain, robotics, and artificial intelligence have a place in the airport of the future, including in modernized baggage handling systems. Hangars, refueling, maintenance, and logistics-related technologies are also advancing along with the new models of aircraft manufacturers.

Shifting to public-private partnerships

Overlaying these changing technologies and business conditions, airport ownership in many regions is evolving into public-private partnerships (known as PPP or P3), as government owners find themselves increasingly capital constrained. More complex ownership means more complex decision-making, project management, and reporting.

Airports and their construction partners need to identify, prioritize, select, and manage projects efficiently while the business of the airports goes on around them. Viewing the capital improvement plan as a portfolio of related, interdependent investments enables adaptability as internal and external priorities evolve, such as national and regional Airports Capital Improvement Plans.

So how do we address all that in airport capital project planning and management?

Solutions for prioritizing, planning, and managing projects

Airports and construction companies need solutions that allow them to track progress and completion, communicate changes between parties, and optimize their resources. For large, complex airport construction enterprises, there is a need for powerful, robust, and easy-to-use solutions for prioritizing, planning, and managing projects.

Oracle Construction and Engineering offers airport project delivery solutions that are available on-premise and as cloud-based software-as-a-service for project scheduling, planning, portfolio and risk management. These tools offer deep, custom process management across the asset lifecycle and the secure, online management of construction documentation.

Oracle also delivers a digital delivery project platform that provides easy-to-use, timely, and accurate collaboration, a critical component to project success. This platform allows organizations to control information and processes across owner and contractor teams, supporting storage, distribution, and management of any number of files, of any size and any type.

A digital delivery project platform also accelerates workflows and facilitates enforcement of deadlines for critical tasks and industry processes.

Combining these project portfolio management and delivery capabilities with Oracle’s cloud collaboration solutions provides airport owners and their construction and engineering partners a strategic approach to project and portfolio management.

Owners and contractor partners can manage their projects with greater efficiency, enhanced visibility, reduced risk, faster and more predictable payments, and improved relationships.

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

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

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