Advance Course in Airport Operations

Chapter : Airport as an Operational System

There are three main components of the Airport: Airlines, Passengers and airport itself. For airport, both airlines and passenger are customers. Airlines are most visible and important customers of the airport and are major source of revenues for the airport operator generating over half of its operational revenue. In order to provide service to passengers, airlines need many facilities which are provided and maintained by the airport. Airlines lease space from airport to provide services such as check-in counters, ticketing counters, hold areas, office space, baggage processing room etc and also use electricity and water all of which are provided by airport. On the airside airlines need space for freight storage, fuel storage, aircraft maintenance and ground support equipments which again are provided by the airport for which airlines are charged.

Airports are organized in three main subsystems for its operations viz. Landside, Terminal and Airside. Main organizational / human components of the airport are: Airport Operator, Airlines and Passengers. For airport to function efficiently, some sort of cohesion between these main players must be achieved. Collaborative approach is needed for efficient operations. The traffic situation should be understood by all the players and they have to accept standards and make joint collaborative decisions.

Relationships between airport and airlines are complex which sometimes have even conflicting operational interests. However both depend on each other for mutual interest and business gains. Airport generates revenues because of airlines and airlines generate revenue because of airport hence mutual respect is the key to have healthy relationship between them.

Apart from airport, airlines are also serviced by other associated organizations such as ground handlers, fuelling companies, flight catering organization, bus operators who are also customers of the airport directly. There are other non airline customers of the airport such as landside tenants, rent-a-car operators, taxis, concessions within the terminal as well as airside, maintenance organizations etc. Overall it is a complex relationship amongst the many organizations which together provide final services of the airport to passengers.

Airport Operations is a complex operation consisting of many subsystems such as Landside Operation, Terminal Operation, Apron Management, Airside Operations, Passenger Services, Airline Services, Ground Operations, Flight Operations, Air Traffic Operations, Meteorological Services, Fire & Rescue Services and finally Safety & Security Services.