Continuous improvement for the airport industry means identifying how well airports meet their customer and stakeholder expectations, then taking active steps toward established goals to effect constructive change. The two key elements to this process are a means to measure performance internally and standard internal and industry benchmarks that establish goals.
Airports operate in a complicated environment and have varying degrees of control over the services that customers expect. The volume of metrics or performance indicators available to airports is overwhelming and used non-uniformly. Moreover, there are insufficient standardized and generally accepted metrics in the industry to benchmark operations and finances at airports.
Research is needed to describe the benefits and applications of a performance-measurement system in the airport environment; develop a method for the appropriate application of performance measurement; list, describe, and establish generally accepted performance indicators; and establish industry benchmarks so that airports can track their performance over time and compare their performance to other, similar airports.
This project will provide guidance to establish a performance-measurement system as the first part of a potential multi-phased research initiative. Following this project, additional research will be needed to develop a more comprehensive list of traditional performance indicators and explore non-traditional metrics and measurement systems. Finally, guidance to assist the airport industry in peer-to-peer comparisons will be developed. (See Special Note A.)
The objective of this research is to produce a practical, user-friendly guidebook that will (1) assist airport management in understanding the practical benefits of a performance-measurement system; (2) identify methods to help airports discern how well they are meeting their customer and stakeholder expectations; (3) guide the development and implementation of the most appropriate performance-measurement system; and (4) provide examples of key performance indicators, and how to incorporate them into a system. Performance-measurement systems resulting from this guidebook will enhance the decision-making process to improve service and efficiency.
Status: The revised final report was received in August 2009 and was published as Report 19.