Forecasting in Airport Planning

Foto : UX Indonesia – Forecasting is an early and essential stage in planning an airport. Forecasts should provide reasonable and robust guidance for future flight activity levels based on the most recent data available.

In the process, forecasts must use appropriate techniques, be supported by information obtained from research and provide adequate justification for airport planning and development.

Aviation activity forecasts used for airport infrastructure planning are typically developed over a period of 20 to 30 years due to the capital-intensive nature of airport infrastructure projects and their life cycles. Forecasts are usually presented in five-year increments.

The following are data and information, as well as the approach used to prepare aviation activity forecasts in airport planning, as follows:

Economic Base for Air Travel

One of the first steps in preparing a forecast for aviation activities is to collect data relating to the characteristics of the airport's business, economy, trade, and tourism. In most cases, the economy and tourism are the main drivers of air passenger traffic, while economy and trade are the main drivers of air cargo traffic.

In developing an economic base, it is important to determine and collect data: 1) Airport Catchment Areas, 2) Socio-Economic Indicators, 3) passenger transfer traffic, 4) Airline Yields, 5) Tourism Trends, 6) Trade, 7) Intermodal Transportation and the last is to analyze the data that has been collected.

Historical Aviation Activities

Analysis of historical data provides an opportunity to understand the factors that may have caused an increase or decrease in traffic and how these factors may change in the future. Understanding the historical relationship between economics (demand) and aviation activity (supply) at the subject airport will help build forecasts.

The steps taken at this stage are data collection, determining the role of airports, analyzing historical passenger trends, domestic and international top destinations, analyzing historical airline market share, analyzing historical air cargo tonnage, classifying historical movements by segment, analyzing factors forecast impact factor.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis is used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors, including other modes of transportation. This analysis aims to show the competitive position of the subject airport versus other airports in the same catchment area.

Review of Existing Forecasts

Before developing models and assumptions for passenger forecasts, it would be helpful to review previous forecasts developed for airports. The review is done to understand previous forecasting efforts, available data, assumptions made, and methodology used. In particular, comparing actual results with forecasts will demonstrate the accuracy of the predictions and validate the methodology used.

Forecasting Techniques 

There are several approaches and techniques for forecasting, the most commonly used are Trend Analysis (Time Series), Consensus Forecasting, Market Share Forecasting, and Econometric/Regression Models. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages and can be used individually or in combination between techniques.

Passenger Activity Forecast

In this forecasting stage, what needs to be done is segmenting passenger activity, measuring passenger activity and compiling alternative scenarios for passenger activity.

Baggage Forecast

Baggage forecast should be developed on a case-by-case basis depending on the airport, individual air service and passenger profile. The average bag ratio per passenger is most often determined based on the passenger's final destination. The forecaster will develop baggage forecasts by multiplying the estimated passenger volume by the estimated passenger bag ratio for different categories of passengers (i.e., international, domestic, transfers).

Like determining the catchment area for an airport, using a passenger survey is the best way to determine the average bag per passenger at the airport. An alternative source for determining the average bag per passenger is data from the ground handler.

Air Cargo Activity Forecast

It is essential to estimate cargo tonnage and cargo aircraft movements to determine the need for physical cargo handling facilities and aircraft ramp space. As with passenger forecasts, the underlying market forces must be considered when developing cargo activity forecasts. Elements such as market assessment and economic theory, airport physical capabilities and limitations are assessed during the cargo activity forecasting.

Air Transport Movement Forecast

The volume (frequency) and type of air transport movement are the main drivers of requirements for airports, taxiways, aprons, and parking stands at airports. air transport movement is defined as the arrival or departure of aircraft. The total air transport movement at a particular airport is usually defined as the sum of all arrivals and departures of aircraft using the airport runway.

Generally, in both the passenger and cargo markets, an increase in aircraft size is observed over time. The use of larger aircraft and cargo is a driver of industry cost savings. Therefore, it is often observed that air transport movements increase more slowly than passenger and cargo volumes.

Peak Period Forecast

Traffic demand patterns at airports depend on seasonal, monthly, daily and even hourly variations. Peak characteristics are critical in assessing an existing facility to determine its ability to accommodate the expected increase in passengers and operational activity during the study period.

The purpose of developing a peak period forecast is to provide a design level that measures facilities so that they are not underutilized or overcrowded.

That is the general description of airport planning forecasting or forecasting stages. In reality, it can be more complex or simpler. The level of complexity depends on the size of the airport, the relationship between capacity and demand, the dynamics of the airport and others.

Referensi : IATA – Airport Development Reference Manual (ADRM) Edition 11 (2019)

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Airportman Indonesia

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