U.S airports are normally governed as either a department or division within a city, county, state or other municipality, or as an authority. The governing structure of an airport in many ways dictates the parameters under which the airport can operate, such as procurement, employment decisions, access to capital, responsiveness to stakeholders, and other functions. Enabling legislation and federal requirements can also be very instructive on how these functions can or must be carried out.
A change in governing structure may occur as a result of external forces and may provide an opportunity to evaluate and consider a governing model that will address an airport’s needs, solve a specific airport or community issue, or best meet its goals and objectives. Airports may also want to be proactive in evaluating their governance model and potential options.
There have been studies on airport governance models generally and on specific cases, but there remains a gap in research as to how an airport can evaluate its governance model and what considerations need to be factored into that evaluation.
The objectives of this research were to (1) identify the factors that can be used to evaluate airport governance models and (2) develop a framework that an airport can use to: (a) evaluate whether the current governance model is meeting goals and objectives; (b) identify and evaluate governance alternatives to meet goals and objectives; and (c) identify implementation considerations in changing governing structure.