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Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Synthesis Methodology

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Synthesis Methodology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Page 8
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Synthesis Methodology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Page 9
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Synthesis Methodology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Page 10

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8 Synthesis Methodology Literature Review Prior to collecting data from airports on the topic of remote work arrangements, a compre- hensive review of the literature was conducted. Due to the lack of literature specifically related to airports on this topic, literature highlighting studies in other professions was also reviewed as appropriate. Additionally, the general management/HR literature related to remote work in corporate America was included. Sources were discovered through numerous platforms, including Google, Google Scholar, OneSearch (powered by EBSCO), TRID, TRB’s database of worldwide transportation research, and the websites of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) including the Association’s Accreditation Papers library, and FAA. Recipients and Participants The population defined for this synthesis reflects the general idea that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted airports of all sizes, in all FAA regions (i.e., none were spared from the impacts of the pandemic). The project panel aimed to include airports from all National Plan of Integrated Airport System (NPIAS) airport categories and all nine FAA regions. Thus, every effort was made to cast a wide net so that each U.S. airport had the opportunity to participate, as long as the airport was a member of the AAAE or ACI-NA. With such a large population, a streamlined approach to survey distribution was necessary. Based on topic panel feedback, both the employee and manager surveys were distributed to members of the AAAE. Additionally, the airport/HR manager survey was distributed to the ACI-NA Human Resources Committee. To distribute the surveys, first, two separate informational posts to the AAAE Member Hub Community with a link to the online survey questionnaires were posted. Second, the AAAE Member Directory was used to send emails to randomly selected members. Third, and only for the airport/HR manager survey, the survey link was sent via email to the chair of the ACI-NA Human Resources Committee requesting survey distribution to members of the committee. After several email reminders for both surveys, a total of 151 individuals responded to the airport/HR manager survey. A total of 76 individuals responded to the airport employee survey. A response rate could not be determined for either survey because the total population of airports receiving the survey could not be accurately determined. The study included airports from each of the nine FAA regions (see Figures 1 and 2). Additionally, all NPIAS airport sizes— C H A P T E R 2

Synthesis Methodology 9   including large hub, medium hub, small hub, non-hub, non-primary, general aviation (GA), and reliever—were represented. In fact, the only exclusion is the Alaskan region with the airport/ HR manager survey. Even though a response rate could not be calculated, this number of responses, representing such diversity in geography and airport size, was deemed sufficient to synthesize nationwide information on remote work practices. Survey and Interview Methodology Two unique questionnaires were designed for this synthesis. The first questionnaire, “Airport Work Models—Airport Manager/HR Manager Survey—ACRP S06-07” consisted of 23 open- ended and close-ended items. (The complete survey can be found in Appendix A.) The second questionnaire, “Airport Work Models—Airport Employee Survey—ACRP S06-07” consisted of 28 open-ended and close-ended items. (The complete survey can be found in Appendix B.) It was anticipated that an online survey protocol would result in a greater response rate than mailed surveys, garner faster response, and be more economical than telephone interviews. Both questionnaires were created using the web-based SurveyMonkey platform. Both surveys were developed using the investigator’s knowledge of remote work practices, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, airport organizational structures, knowledge gained during the literature review, and feedback from the project panel. Following a project panel pretest, the survey instrument was further refined. Figure 1. Participating airports for Airport/HR Manager survey by NPIAS category and FAA region.

10 Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies Both surveys were distributed via various channels from May to July 2022. Because of the extensive distribution over a period of multiple weeks with multiple follow-ups to enhance response, the survey remained open until July 31, 2022. Once the surveys closed, no further responses were possible. On the basis of survey responses (including the willingness to be contacted for follow-up), seven airport managers and one airport employee were contacted via phone during August 2022. The intent of the phone calls was to better understand remote work practices, including challenges experienced, at the selected airports for the purpose of developing case examples for the report. A case example was developed for each of those airport managers and one airport employee (presented in Chapter 5). The methods for analyzing survey data depended on the type of data collected: • Quantitative data, mostly collected from close-ended items, was analyzed using basic Micro- soft Excel statistical analysis tools, as well as the SurveyMonkey data analysis tool. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Charts were created using Excel. • Qualitative data, collected from responses to open-ended items, were manually tabulated and analyzed using content analysis. Themes were uncovered from the verbatim responses and presented to better understand common perspectives among participating airports. If appropriate, word clouds were created to graphically portray those words most frequently used in response to open-ended questions. Figure 2. Participating airports for Airport Employee survey by NPIAS category and FAA region.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airport operators had to develop strategies that maintained operations while ensuring employee safety and public health. Though not all airport-related tasks can be performed from remote worksites, many airports identified tasks that could be performed remotely.

ACRP Synthesis 126: Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies, from TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program, provides information on those airports that experimented in remote work, provides options for airports that did not participate in remote work, and identifies emerging trends.

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