Prinicples of Airport Management


Principles of Airport Management



This module deals with the broad principles and guidelines, which form the bedrock of managing an airport. The managers of the airport need to take into account the issues and considerations that shall be discussed subsequently.

This lesson provides insight into the issues that are related to the management of airports. People in key managerial positions need to take into account managerial considerations and manage the affairs of the airport based on certain principles. These principles will be addressed in this lesson.

Regulatory and Non-Regulatory functions

Regulatory functions are those certain functions at airports which are regulated by the Regulatory Authorities of International and Nations stature. Non-regulatory functions are those functions which may be carried as per the comprehension of the Airport Management.

Role of Aviation Authority

The role of the Aviation authority is to:

  1. Establish policies for each aspect of airport functions and manage service standards
  2. Regulate and promote development of air services
  3. Provide certification and safety oversight of national registered aircraft.
  4. Define the role of airport operator.
  5. Look after maintenance and operations of airport
  6. Provide air traffic control services within the national flight information region.
  7. Provide airport fire and rescue services
  8. Provide other commercial activities and services (including non-aviation related)

Modern Day Airports

Modern day airports are not only seen as the medium from where passengers / Cargo are transported from one place to another, but they are also regarded as a critical infrastructure of the nation. Various nations, authorities and organizations like ICAO, IATA, ACI are giving attention to several aspects and activities of the airport.

Airports these days are gateways to the world. They are:

  • Architectural showpieces
  • National icons
  • Commercial / shopping centers
  • Infrastructure contributing to national economy

Airport Operations

Airport Operations constitute:

  • All activities involved in ensuring the smooth and efficient handling of aircraft, passengers and cargo
  • Includes Operations of passenger, terminals, hangers, runways, taxi ways, apron, airport logistics and real estate and commercial developments.

Airport Operators are expected to:

  • Provide safe and efficient airport operations and user-friendly facilities and services
  • Expert pressure if required to meet needs and expectations of different airport users and clients (passengers, airlines, cargo / freight forwarders)

Airport Stakeholders

Airport operations involve a multitude of Airport Organizations such as :

  1. Government Agencies
  2. Airlines
  3. Ground handling companies
  4. Cargo agents
  5. Oil companies (refueling / storage)
  6. Service Providers

Government agencies include:

  1. Airport Authority
  2. Customs, immigration & Health (Quarantine)
  3. Telecommunications and Land Transport Authorities
  4. Police / Security Authority
  5. Trade and Tourism Departments
  6. Public Works / Veterinary Departments

Establishing Airport Policies


Since airport is service industry, airports are now a venue for business or business development. Therefore, the tasks of the airport management are to:

  • Establish service oriented policies geared towards the needs of clients which include passengers , airlines, and cargo operators.
  • Manage, monitor and control established policies via service standards:
    • Speed of clearance, baggage delivery
    • Satisfaction of customers
    • Availability of services
    • Competitive pricing, value for money


Key Principles

The key principles, on which the functioning of an Airport is based, are as follows:

  • Close working relationship between airport operators and airport organizations and among themselves.
  • Balance among different components of operations (e.g. facilitation, security, commercial)
  • Existence of common standards on safety efficiency and service
  • The needs of clients are met
  • Passengers, airlines, shippers and ground handlers strive to achieve a win-win situation for all

Safety and Security

The two most important facets of any Airport and the Aviation industry and Safety and Security

  • Safety and Security will not be compromised.
  • Paramount importance will be given to maintaining safety and security of the airport at all times. These aspects are fundamental drivers in airport operations.
  • Lapses in safety or security can result in serious consequences, affecting lives of passengers and airport staff, damaging property, and cause irreparable damage to the image of airport.
  • Security of the airport is the responsibility of the government, who will ensure the security and safety of operations.

Safety and security programs require:

  • Integrity of Airport safety and Security plans
  • Security programs such as:
    • National Civil Aviation Security Program
    • National Civil Aviation Security Training Program
    • National Civil Aviation quality Control Program
    • Operator Security Programs
    • Airport Security Program
  • Close coordination and full cooperation with national security services for overall airport security to combat threats.
  • Good level of security consciousness and awareness by airport staff
  • Need to overcome the threat of complacency

Safety Programs

Safety Programs are required to:

  • Maintain strict management and enforcement of airside safety
  • Train apron vehicle drivers and equipment operators
  • Schedule safety evacuation, emergency drills and crash exercises to ensure that all members of their staff are aware of their roles
  • Provide sufficient and properly located evacuation points

Airport Operational Efficiency

Airport operational efficiency is critical for:

  • Reliability of service
  • Time savings
  • Price value
  • Facilitation of passengers, bags and cargo
  • Optimal staffing, equipment and facilities
  • Achieving a quick turn around and on-time departure for airlines.
  • Keeping operating expenses down
  • Providing adequate infrastructure and facilities
  • Streamlining and re-engineering operational processes
  • Applying technology to improve airport efficiency

Airport operational efficiency aids in creating a standardized airport manual for the full spectrum of airport operations.

Service Quality Delivery

Service quality delivery includes:

  • Passengers first and last impressions of the airport
  • Developing a culture of “service excellence”
  • Creating a sense of pride amongst airport staff
  • Promoting ISO certification


Human Resource Development

The role of Human Resource Development is:

  • Investing in human resource development
  • Equipping staff with the necessary skills for their assigned responsibilities
  • Continuous training to enhance staff skills
  • Improving productivity and morale
  • Respecting the rights and entitlements of the staff
  • Creating a work environment that is supportive and stimulating
  • Rewarding initiative and effort
  • Compensating employees at a level that ensures the recruitment and retention of a high calibre, effective, productive professional and technically qualified staff.

Commercial Development

Airport with healthy financial returns instill confidence in the stakeholders and airlines. Therefore stakeholders must invest in commercially developing the airports

Commercial Development of Airport includes:

  • Maximizing commercial gains which produces positive financial returns
  • Developing non-aeronautical revenues
  • Benefiting airlines and improving competitiveness
  • Optimizing commercial opportunities with initiatives, diversification, effective commercial retail layout and promotional campaigns
  • Maximizing cargo and logistics potential

Performance Standards

Performance standards mean translating expectations of service standards into quantifiable measures:

The following aspects differ from airport to airport.

  • Processing speed
  • Check – in process
  • Immigration / customs screening
  • Baggage delivery
  • Functionally standards
  • Minimum connecting time
  • Availability
  • Key operating systems such as flight monitors, escalators are trolleys
  • Financial performance


  • Regulatory and Non-regulatory functions
  • Role of Aviation Authority
  • Modern Day Airports
  • Airports Operations
  • Airport Stakeholders
  • Establishing Airport Policies
  • Key Principles
  • Safety and Security
  • Airport Operational Efficiency
  • Service Quality Delivery
  • Human Resource Development
  • Performance Standards