The National Academies

ACRP 11-02/Task 40 [Active]

Quick Response: Primer for Airport Organizational Redesign

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Staff Responsibility: Marci A. Greenberger
Research Agency: ICF
Principal Investigator: Candace Blair Cronin
Effective Date: 11/10/2020
Completion Date: 9/23/2021


Periodically airports redesign their workforce and organizational structure, transform their business model, or move in a different direction. Yet even after implementation, airports may not realize the anticipated benefits or find the redesign is unsustainable over time.
ACRP Synthesis 40: Issues with Airport Organization and Reorganization (2013) explored past and then-current practices in operational design. Since then, much research on organizational redesign has been done outside the airport industry, as organizational needs and models continue to evolve. NCHRP Project 20-24(95), "Ensuring Essential Capability for the Future Transportation Agency" conducted research that resulted in a chapter on Organizational Management
There is no organizational structure that will work for all airports. The type and size of the airport, the governance structure, the presence of, or lack of a union, and other factors must be considered during an assessment. The concept of sustainable organizational redesign is not new, but the trends and latest practices are not as well known to airport staff. Therefore, this information needs to be adapted to airports.
The objective of this research is to develop a primer to guide airports in determining an organizational redesign that addresses their current and emerging business needs and requirements that are applicable to all size airports. 
The primer should include, at a minimum, the following:
  • Criteria of a successful reorganization;
  • Identification of key processes of airport organization redesign;
  • Identification of key factors to conduct an assessment(s); 
  • Elements of a structurally sustainable reorganization;  
  • Impact of different airport governing structures, e.g., airport authorities, county, city, state;
  • Impact of union vs a non-union environment; and
  • Additional resources.
Additionally, submit a separate, stand-alone document identifying at least one problem statement to address further research needs that can be input into ACRP’s IdeaHub (used for the collection of research ideas) after panel approval.
Status: Research in progress.

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