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Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements (2016)

Chapter: Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1. State of the Airport Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27193.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

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ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 2 Exhibit 1-1. ACRP 06-04 Research Questions Airport Industry Workforce Trends What types of trends are discussed (e.g., technology, safety, types of employees)? What anticipated changes should be considered in the airport industry? What will the impact of trends be on the airport industry? What does the current airport industry workforce look like? How might this change over the next 5 to 10 years? Airport Job Specifications and Mission Critical Positions What core functions/jobs must be performed to execute the mission of airports? Which positions/types of jobs perform key functions? What are their major duties and work activities? How do airports identify employees with needed KSAOs? (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Other characteristics) What gaps exist in key competencies and skills needed? What airport jobs/types of jobs are difficult to hire for? Easy to hire for? Airport Capacity Needs Where do the largest capacity gaps exist in the current airport workforce (e.g., what jobs are hard to fill)? What challenges do airports face in terms of sustaining a strong workforce (e.g., recruiting and retaining employees)? How is the airport talent pipeline defined? Is it sufficient? How might it be expanded? What does the available pool of labor for airports? What labor market trends might impact the airport industry? Airport Training and Educational Curricula To what extent do current educational programs provide the needed skills and competencies for the airport industry workforce? How are training programs for airport employees evaluated in terms of effectiveness? What additional training do potential airport employees need? Airport Workforce Development Strategies What workforce development and human resource practices and programs are currently used by airports? Which airports are using the identified strategies? How effective are these strategies? How do these workforce development strategies compare to the best practices of other industries? This report is primarily intended to serve leaders of U.S. commercial service airports and focuses specifically on the workforce of the airport operator rather than other airport businesses (e.g., airlines, fixed-base operators (FBO), and concessions). However, some findings may also be valuable to a broader audience including smaller reliever or general aviation (GA) airports, airport-based businesses, and regulators. In fact, GA airports will likely find much of the information discussed in this report to be relevant as many of the occupations and required skills are similar to those at commercial service airports. [NB: the FAA Asset report prescribes a new categorization for GA airports that is inclusive of some commercial service airports (U.S. DOT FAA, 2012)]. Exhibit 1-2 features the major stakeholder groups that participated in this project.

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 3 Exhibit 1-2. Airport Types and Stakeholders Engaged in This Research Stakeholder Groups Group Components Role in Study Commercial Airports: Publically owned airports with scheduled passenger service and at least 2,500 passenger boarding per year Primary: More than 10,000 passenger boarding per year  Large hub: accounts for 1% of more of passenger boardings per year  Medium hub: at least 0.25% but less than 1%  Small hub: At least 0.05% but less than .25%  Non-hub: More than 10,000, but less than 0.05% Trends, mission critical occupations, workforce requirements and capacity estimates, and training and education needs are directed at this audience. They have provided input to all elements of the research. Non-primary  Non-hub: at least 2,500 but lessthan 10,000 Academic, technical, and professional training organizations  Universities with airport-related degree programs  Community colleges with airport-related curricula  Industry associations that provide certification and training to members (e.g., AAAE, ACI)  Private, for-profit providers of training to airports  Non-profit organizations and partnerships that focus on developing the airport workforce These programs were engaged through surveys and interviews to collect summary information and data related to capacity, quality, MCO alignment, cost, performance, and their talent pipeline. The remainder of this chapter introduces the current state of the airport industry that is the subject of this research, explores overarching factors affecting airport management, raises questions about how the industry can cope with these and other challenges, and lays out how this report can help provide answers to those questions. Airports: An Industry in Flux U.S. airports and their workforces are part of the dynamic aviation industry that has undergone a series of dramatic changes since the turn of the century. Rapid change is challenging for transportation infrastructure providers, including airports, which must balance service risks (e.g., providing adequate service to passengers, airlines and other tenants) with investment risk (e.g., investing in costly facilities). If airports do not invest and traffic grows, service will be inadequate. Conversely, if airports invest heavily, only to not see forecasted passengers materialize, they can be left with costly facilities they do not need. Finding that service-investment “sweet spot” remains a significant challenge. The terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, the severe economic recession between 2007 and 2009, and the consolidation of several mainline air carriers all put the U.S. aviation industry through a challenging and unprecedented period, where historic levels of growth in the industry were interrupted and, for a time, reversed. In the aftermath of these events, many airlines entered and emerged from bankruptcy, restructured their businesses, went through several rounds of cost cutting, downsized their workforces, cut air service to many airports, and renegotiated contracts for use of airport facilities. These latter two actions in particular had a profound negative impact on many airports in the form of declining air service and increasing cost pressures on airport management and staff. The response of many airports was to restructure, postpone capital investments and hiring, and cut costs in areas such as personnel and their development. Fortunately, over the last five years, the remaining airlines have increased capacity and thus, stimulated renewed growth in passenger traffic. Airlines now have lower cost structures reinforced by an unexpected plunge in fuel prices and, together with a return to U.S. economic growth, have led to profitability and renewed optimism. While this has removed the sense of crisis that pervaded many airports, airports have realized they will need to change how they do business to survive and thrive amidst the many challenges that still lie ahead.

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 4 As airports emerge from this period of strain, several lessons learned are informing airport management strategies for success in the next decade and beyond: (1) Airports are highly vulnerable to rapid changes in air service. Airports use forecasts of activity and passenger traffic to devise long-term plans spanning 5, 10, or even as many as 30 years (or more). When traffic suddenly fluctuates, airports face either unnecessary infrastructure resulting in real estate vacancies and high costs or inadequate infrastructure resulting in congestion, crowds and delays. In response, airport management teams have redoubled their efforts to not only attract new air service but also maintain and expand existing air service. (2) Diversification of revenue bases can help mitigate the impact of changes in air service. Vulnerability to air service fluctuations means airports are putting more emphasis on generating non-aeronautical revenues, including food and beverage, retail, rental car concessions, parking fees, and development of on airport property. While some passenger spending such as food and beverage are highly correlated with air service, achieving a greater per-passenger return provides an additional degree of diversification. In an era of minimal in-cabin amenities for economy class passengers, airports have stepped in to provide food, beverages, and other goods at concessionaires adjacent to airport gates. (3) Changes in the how airlines deliver air service have significant effects on airport infrastructure needs. On average, airlines are now flying a greater number of larger aircraft and fewer smaller aircraft, resulting in less per-passenger burden on aircraft-related infrastructure such as runways, taxiways and gates, and placing more burden on passenger-related infrastructure, such as hold rooms, screening checkpoints, roadways and parking lots. This has caused many airports to review their future capital plans to ensure airside, terminal and landside infrastructure are in balance. Where possible, airport management is also phasing developments to make sure traffic levels are realized prior to making large new investments in the airport. (4) Airport management and boards are examining their own legal and governance structures, organizations, and operations. As commercial service airports look to diversify revenues and become more commercial and entrepreneurial in their operations, many airport board members and executives have found that their state and local agencies are ill suited to managing today’s airports. Whether they are held back by inadequate human resource, budgeting, procurement, contracting, or information technology systems, airports are examining their governance and organizations to make sure they have the right organizational model and talent to fill today’s and tomorrow’s jobs. In many cases, this means airport business systems have more in common with commercial enterprises than they do with the government agencies that may oversee them. Airport Governance: No Man’s Land Airport governance is an important subject to explore further given the role it plays in how airports function and approach workforce capacity issues. The ability of airports to address the myriad operational, financial, and regulatory challenges they face is compromised by the fact that airports straddle the line between government agency and commercial enterprise. In many ways, large commercial service airports “use commercial means for public ends.” That distinguishes U.S. airports from most of their foreign counterparts, which are generally private, profit-making organizations. At first glance, U.S. airports may appear similar to other government organizations in that they are often owned and operated by government agencies, set public goals such as providing air service rather than prioritizing profitability, and their executive leadership is ultimately accountable to the public owners. Whether owned and operated by a state, county, city, or a single-purpose or multi-purpose governing authority (e.g., Port Authority of New York and New Jersey), U.S. airports are fundamentally public services. On further examination, however, airports also differ from other public service organizations.

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 5 Highlight The Department of Employment and Economic Development projects that the aviation industry will have more than 1 million job openings in the next 10 years, while government and industry forecasts anticipate critical shortages in the next two decades as 10,000 baby boomers become eligible to retire each week. Most airports do not rely on state or local taxpayers to pay for their operations or investments. Instead, like private businesses, they rely on revenues generated from their variety of users and tenants. Existing in a space between the public and private sector often means airports are saddled with the trappings of both. For example, notwithstanding the fact the many larger airports could be financially independent, some airports still rely on (or are forced to use) shared services from their state or local owner, including their human resources systems. Consequently, they may be hindered by civil service rules and bureaucracy when a fast response is required or when hiring for positions that do not have equivalent classifications elsewhere in government. Because of the unique role airports play and the safety and security risks involved in even routine jobs, the risk of having inadequate talent in critical positions is immense. At the same time, civil service hiring systems may limit hiring and firing flexibility, while the commercial pressures to innovate and improve the passenger experience demand an even more highly skilled workforce. As airport leaders struggle to align their workforce with the evolving demands of the industry, they may find that they cannot do it alone. The Airport Workforce: Cracks in the Pipeline The complex and tumultuous state of the airport industry has a direct impact on the current airport workforce, and it is unclear how well the airport education, training, and development systems will be able to cope with the changing landscape. There are many reasons to question these systems’ sufficiency. First, the relatively small size of the airport workforce (not including airport tenants like airlines or retailers) means that economies of scale are difficult to achieve. As a result, airport training and education (T&E) options on any given subject may be rather limited, so T&E providers might struggle to adapt to surges in demand or feel less competitive pressure to improve their offerings to keep pace. Smaller scale also typically means less funding for airport-specific T&E, which could inhibit the ability of these T&E providers to develop high quality content or hire experienced and capable faculty. Even if quality content is developed, the time and money it takes to develop it could limit the ability of providers to update it regularly. As a result, content may be focused on what students and the industry have needed in the past, rather than what will be needed for the workforce of tomorrow. Add to the mix rapidly developing digital technologies, changes in airport operating structures and management practices, and the need for a new generation of airport leaders to take the industry into the next decade and beyond, and the industry is left with serious questions regarding the ability of airport education and training programs to supplying enough employees with the knowledge and skills required for mission critical occupations. An external threat to the airport industry is the competition for the workforce that comes from private sector organizations. Private sector companies are often able to offer higher salaries, greater flexibility and autonomy in the work environment, and more attractive employee benefit packages. For some jobs, such as those that focus on knowledge and skills in high demand throughout the economy (e.g., IT, Engineering), it is especially hard for airports to compete for high quality talent because prospective employees may not be aware of airport job or career opportunities within transportation (CUTC, 2012) or the airport industry specifically. These concerns come at a precarious time for the industry, not simply because of the uncertainty and complexity discussed above, but also because demographic trends in the workforce threaten to place new demands on workforce development resources. Two major trends, Baby Boomer retirements and the greater representation of ethnic minorities and women in the workforce, present unique implications for the airport workforce. In the latest projections of 2013, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) established that the labor force participation will be smaller during 2012–2022 than in the previous 10-year period predominantly due to a decline in the prime age group of workers. In other words, as baby boomers move into an older

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 6 demographic bracket, there are fewer replacement workers to fill their spots in the labor market. This shrinking labor pool presents significant obstacles for an industry such as aviation that historically has not had a strong succession strategy. Further, many retirement-eligible staff have delayed retirement due to declining value of their assets. Thus, there may be a number of employees “ready and waiting” to retire, while more workers are becoming eligible to retire each year. As the economy improves and retirement plans rebound, airport employees could leave the workforce in masses before airports can find and develop suitable replacements. At a smaller airport, there may only be one person in each position (e.g., finance manager; director of planning, marketing; airport manager, director of operations, and assistant to the director). Thus, if any one of those individuals were to depart suddenly, the airport is unlikely to have the talent identified to fill the resulting competency gaps. Airports must also be prepared to deal with a multi- generational workforce and the work environment and job arrangements favorable to a younger workforce (Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 2000). Charting a Course for Workforce Sustainability The remainder of this report contains the results of a systematic effort to identify the specific industry trends, challenges, and future scenarios that present the greatest impact to the airport industry; document the current workforce capacity and anticipated requirements in those occupations most critical to the future of the industry; and evaluate the current airport education, training, and development landscape against these requirements. With this information in hand, airport managers and training and education providers will be able to better anticipate future workforce needs and adapt their workforce development strategies accordingly. In conducting this research, the project team pursued several related lines of research using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. This research involved focus groups and surveys of airport human resource professionals and senior airport leaders regarding industry trends, mission critical occupations, and workforce capacity challenges. The industry survey included input from 746 airport stakeholders. These participants represented a wide range of airport types, sizes, and geographic locations. An overview of the survey participants is provided in Exhibit 1-3. Exhibit 1-3. Mission Critical Survey Participants Airport Size Category  Large Hub: 28.5%  Medium Hub: 14.8%  Small Hub: 21.1%  Non-hub Primary: 22.0%  Other: 13.1% o Examples of other include General Aviation Airport, GA reliever Approximate Number of Airport Employees in Respondents’ Airports  Mean # of Employees Reported: 2,565 (SD = 9,084)  Median # of Employees Reported: 210  Range of Employees within Airports: 2 – 67,000 FAA Region  Alaskan: 3.3%  Central: 3.9%  Eastern: 12.8%  Great Lakes: 13.1%  New England: 3.3%  Northwest Mountain: 11.0%  Southern: 24.0%  Southwest: 16.0%  Western Pacific: 11.6%

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 7 This study also analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S Department of Education data to assess the national projections for jobs similar to those found in airports. Finally, providers of airport training and education were surveyed and in some cases interviewed to provide a comprehensive perspective on strengths and gaps in workforce development programs. Exhibit 1-4 provides an overview of the industry experts who participated in focus groups and/or interview data collections. Exhibit 1-4. Focus Group and Interview Participants Key Contact and/or Participant Title Airport/Organization (at time of Participation) Focus Groups- Set 1 Janet Barrow HR Director Louisville Regional Airport Authority Belinda Butler   EVP, Adm. & Diversity Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Brent Cagle   Interim Aviation Director Charlotte Douglas International Airport Kelly Campbell   Executive Director Lubbock International Airport Jeff Horton Director of Communication and Airside Operations Tucson Airport Authority Davey Jones   Director of Facilities Jacksonville Aviation Authority Gale LaRoche Vice President of HR, Airport Authority Wayne County Airport Authority Marsha Madore HR Manager Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Walt Matwijec   AVP, Continuous Improvement Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority Stephanie Mayorga-Tipton HR Manager San Francisco Airport Commission Sharon McGhee   Director of Community Affairs Charleston International Airport Kim Scharrer   Administration Manager Erie International Airport Steven Schultz   Director of Information Technology Jacksonville Aviation Authority Somer Shindler   Senior Director of Airport Infrastructure Management Denver International Airport Sharon Traficante   Director of Administration Connecticut Airport Authority Focus Groups- Set 2 Kelly Campbell Executive Director Lubbock International Airport Ann Crook Director of Aviation Elmira Corning Regional Airport Bryan Elliott Director, Airport Management and Financial Services Delta Airports Associates Eric Frankl Executive Director Lexington Blue Grass Airport Kurt Gering SDIA Director, Talent, Culture, and Capability San Diego International Airport Larry Krauter CEO Spokane International Airport Gina Marie Lindsey Former Executive Director Los Angeles International Airport

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 8 Exhibit 1-4. Focus Group and Interview Participants Key Contact and/or Participant Title Airport/Organization (at time of Participation) Brian Ryks Executive Director Gerald R. Ford Airport Mark Sapp SVP Business Development AirIT Panel Interviews Shane Harbinson Assistant Director Austin Bergstrom International Airport Tara Harl Airport Management Program Lead Kansas State Polytechnic Jeff Lindeman Senior Director HR San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Case Studies Shane Harbinson Assistant Director Austin Bergstrom International Airport Ghizlane Badawi Deputy Chief Operating Officer Vivian Martin Human Resources Supervisor Kevin Howell VP and COO Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Jeff Lindeman Senior Director HR San Diego International Airport Education & Training Program Interviews Kevin Caron Head, Global Training & Developing Nations Airport Assistance Programme ACI Tara Harl Airport Management Program Lead Kansas State Polytechnic Stephanie Kellner Researcher/Program Developer, Financial Tools for the Trade Port Jobs Heather Worthley Executive Director Annie Laurie Armstrong Consultant and Ethnographic Researcher Business Government Community Connections (BGCC) Kim Kenville Graduate Program Director University of North Dakota Lorena de Rodriguez President SSI, Inc. The research findings are presented throughout the next four chapters. The chapters are intentionally sequenced to first explain the emerging demands facing airports and then to demonstrate how those demands are likely to impact which airport occupational requirements and workforce capabilities will be critical. Finally, the skill gaps identified with respect to new requirements are compared to the current state of airport training and education to identify where workforce capacity needs still remain. Thus, the reader is encouraged to proceed through this report to see the connections across chapters. However, given the breadth of information covered within, the chapters can be individually extracted for use (including the mission critical occupational profiles within Chapter 3 that may be utilized as stand-alone resources). The remaining four chapters cover the following information:  Chapter 2- Industry Trends and Challenges This chapter explores several key trends and challenges that are likely to have a bearing on the future workforce demands of the industry. The trends and challenges reflect both ongoing and anticipated industry drivers that airport leaders will have to confront. The anticipated workforce implications of each of these factors is also

ACRP 06-04: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements November 2016 9 discussed. Following the discussion of the trends, several future scenarios which airport leaders helped develop are presented. These hypothetical future scenarios reflect the ways the trends could interact to present dynamic challenges for airport leaders. The scenarios also formed the basis of subsequent data collections regarding the occupations most critical to the future airport workforce.  Chapter 3- Mission Critical Occupations Chapter 3 begins with an introduction to the concept of mission critical occupations (MCOs) and a description of the approach to selecting airport MCOs for this study. This is followed by quantitative data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pertaining to related occupations in the national economy to shed light on labor supply and demand issues including the competitive challenges airports might face as they search for new talent. Next, occupational profiles explore each occupation in-depth including key requirements (i.e. knowledge, skills and abilities), forecasts, challenges, impacts on performance, strategic implications, and relationships to industry trends and scenarios. Finally, potential sources for future airport talent are discussed.  Chapter 4- Education, Training, and Development Programs This chapter examines a range of airport-related education, training, and development programs including both academic degree programs and professional training and certifications programs. The analysis includes a high level overview of available programs; key capacity, quality, and cost indicators; and alignment of the programs to mission critical occupations and related competencies. Finally, this chapter includes an assessment of the sufficiency of the overall airport training and education landscape for meeting future airport workforce capacity needs.  Chapter 5- Conclusions and Recommendations The report concludes with a discussion of the major workforce implications derived from the findings documented throughout the report. Chapter 5 also sets the stage for development of a guidebook that airports and other industry stakeholders can use to take charge of workforce planning and development to be better prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Web-Only Document 28: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements gathers information that will help identify and evaluate the current and future airport job requirements and associated workforce capacity needs; assess the potential of current airport education, training, and resources to address workforce gaps; and provide a practical guidebook that presents effective workforce planning and development strategies. The Web-Only document summarizes the information gathered in the first phase of the project.

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