Air Service

  • Understand: This section will provide an overview of the current commercial airline operating environment, the federal programs and regulations driving air service in the U.S., the basics of air service development, and the overall role of your airport in air service and air service development.

    Having an understanding of the airline industry – how it works and the current trends – provides your airport and the community with the context for air service development. Armed with this understanding, with the community’s support, your airport can explore the best opportunities for improvements. While airport strategies for air service are part of the equation when pursuing improvements, national and regional economies and airline strategies are very influential.

    This section of the toolkit will provide you with basic information and resources to provide an understanding of five primary topics listed below.


    • Airline Industry Fundamentals and Current Trends: Learn about the top industry trends impacting airports and their ability to develop and improve air service. [Details]
    • Overview of ASD: Explore reasons for air service development and the components of air service development. [Details]
    • Federal Programs and Regulations Impacting Air Service: Understand federal regulations and programs that may impact air service at your airport. [Details]
    • Role of Your Airport in Passenger Experience and Air Service Development: Understand what role your airport plays in the commercial service passenger experience and ASD. Discover the other players needed in ASD. [Details]
    • Smaller Community Air Service Challenges: Understand the unique challenges faced by small and non-hub airports when pursuing and maintaining viable air service. [Details]


  • Explore: This section will provide guidance on how to determine the current air service situation at your airport and how to identify the opportunities for new or improved service.

    This section will provide information, tools, and resources to help understand your airport’s existing air service situation and identify where opportunities for improvements lie. When considering ASD, a basic understanding of the local commercial service market is needed. An overview of the information needed to determine whether an airport and its community are a good candidate for attracting or expanding air service is provided here.

    Part II of ACRP Report 18 Passenger Air Service Development Techniques, explains the components of a typical air service development program and references steps that other airports have taken in their successful air service development efforts. Chapters 5 and 6 of the report can be reviewed when exploring air service development efforts at an airport.

    This section of the toolkit will allow your airport and community to explore its existing air service situation and how to go about changing this situation. The better you understand your airport’s air service needs with regard to the community, the better your airport will be equipped to communicate with elected officials and the general public, and the better your ability will be to pursue air service improvements. You may do this by defining the community’s catchment area, determining its strengths and weaknesses, utilizing airline data, and determining the key resources in your community. In addition, if an airport currently does not have commercial air service, what is needed to obtain service can be explored here.


    • Defining Your Airport’s Catchment Area: Learn what is used to define your airport catchment area. [Details]
    • Identifying Your Airport’s Strengths and Weaknesses: Determine your airport’s competitive strengths and weaknesses and explore the reasons for passenger leakage. [Details]
    • Documenting Current Service and Identifying Gaps: Explore the data sources that can be used to analyze service and help build the case for improvements. [Details]
    • Pursuing Air Service at a Non-Commercial Service Airport: Learn about factors that may influence your decision to pursue commercial service at your airport. [Details]
    • Hiring Professional Consultants for ASD Assistance: Evaluate whether the airport might benefit from professional air service consulting services. [Details]


    National/Regional/Local Studies/Examples:

  • Take Action: The airport can play an active role, along with the community, in improving or maintaining air service.

    The knowledge base in this section will provide information, tools, and resources for your airport and community to work together in educational efforts and to identify actions to take to improve or maintain air service. This includes information on the development of an air service development program, an airport marketing plan, and an air service task force. The use and selection of airline incentives and the preparation of a marketing package for airlines will also be explored.


    • How to Develop Air Service Goals and Objectives and Evaluate ASD Efforts: The first step in an ASD program is to establish goals specifically designed for your airport. When air service goals are achieved, airports may evaluate efforts and make changes to the program when applicable. [Details]
    • How to Develop a Marketing Plan to Educate Your Community on Air Service: A marketing plan can help your airport communicate with the community, airport sponsors, airlines and other key stakeholders. [Details]
    • How to Establish a Community Air Service Task Force: Identify major stakeholders and resources within your community that are airport and air service advocates. Develop a task force and get community on your side. [Details]
    • How to Select Appropriate Incentives and Identify Resources to Enhance Air Service: Determine which airline incentives are appropriate for your airport, in terms of community support and financial implications. [Details]
    • How to Communicate Air Service Opportunities and Incentives with the Airlines: How to work with the airlines to ensure they understand your community’s needs and opportunities to help improve air service. [Details]