As the domestic and world economies continue to exert stress on the economic health of the aviation industry, airports seek to diversify and expand their revenue streams. Some airports are developing new and innovative revenue-generating techniques to supplement more traditional methods. Some airport professionals have considered innovative revenue strategies but need more information about potential techniques and how they might be implemented. There are numerous studies in general and several Airport Cooperative Research Program studies in particular that have focused on airport revenues. ACRP Synthesis Report 1
, Innovative Finance and Alternative Sources of Revenue for Airports
, describes alternative financing options and revenue sources currently available. This synthesis also provides an overview of capital financing mechanisms used by airports as well as descriptions of various revenue sources, including parking revenues, rental car revenues, terminal concessions, advertising programs, commercial development and land use activities, and other revenue-enhancement opportunities. Another synthesis study nearing completion addresses "Airport Economic Development Opportunities and Incentives" (ACRP Project 11-03/Topic S01-02). This research discusses how airports are diversifying their revenue streams through economic development projects, by offering additional services to airlines and implementing strategies to leverage existing resources and attract non-aeronautical development. Based on these and other state-of-the-practice studies, additional research is needed to collect information about and analyze the effectiveness of new and innovative techniques for generating airport revenue that extends current practice. Research is also needed to analyze untried ideas for capturing, as airport revenue, a portion of the value airports contribute to the regional economies they serve; and guidance to airport professionals is desired on how to assess applicability of alternative revenue sources and how to implement viable innovative revenue-generating strategies.
The objective of this research was to produce a guide to help airport professionals identify, evaluate, and implement innovative strategies for generating revenues. This guide identifies innovative revenue sources and techniques currently in use, or being considered for use by airports, but not widely known. Innovative revenue sources should also include techniques in practice by other transportation modes or other industries but not yet attempted at airports. In preparing this guide, the research team investigated a range of revenue-generation opportunities from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, airport users, the entrepreneurial use of airport assets, and the regional economy that benefits from airport activities.