7.4 Air Service Development

Air service development is the practice of retaining and/or establishing air service to a given airport or community. Air service development is a community effort, not just an airport effort. When stakeholders understand and are on board with air service development efforts, the chance of success is much higher. Air service development is usually an ongoing effort to retain as well as pursue additional service.

ACRP Legal Research Digest 6: The Impact of Airline Bankruptcies on Airports
Examines legal issues presented by the filing of airline bankruptcies that are relevant to airports, and explores how airport lawyers and courts have responded to those issues. The digest highlights the basics of bankruptcy theory and law relevant to airport operating agreements with airlines, and identifies issues such as lease recharacterization and payment of stub period rent that particularly affect airports dealing with airlines in bankruptcy.

ACRP Report 18: Passenger Air Service Development Techniques
Explores the underlying competitive challenges that small communities face in retaining or enhancing their commercial air service, examines how communities can address those challenges, and describes the basic components and tools of an air service development program.

ACRP Report 28: Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports
Explores development of a marketing program for general aviation or commercial service airports on a small or minimal budget. Includes case studies and marketing plan worksheets to assist a small airport in implementation.

ACRP Report 98: Understanding Airline and Passenger Choice in Multi-Airport Regions
Reviews topics that influence decisions by airlines to serve an airport and presents research conclusions on factors that influence airline choice in multi-airport regions.

ACRP Report 142: Effects of Airline Industry Changes on Small- and Non-Hub Airports
Describes policy and planning options for small- and non-hub airport operators and managers as they respond to changing conditions in the airline industry. Describes the forces that affect airline operations and airport planning and development, and presents a structured approach for planning and development strategies. Reviews airline industry trends, documents patterns of airline industry change, and assesses current programs that airports are using to respond to changes.

ACRP Synthesis 68: Strategies for Maintaining Air Service
Explores practices that smaller airports use to maintain air service.

ACRP Webinar: “Factors that Influence Air Service Development”
Summarizes the airport choice factors, how these factors affect air service development, and the general nature of air service development.

ACRP WebResource 1: Aligning Community Expectations with Airport Roles
Helps airport operators communicate with the community and its leaders on issues where there are frequent disconnects. In some cases this means “right sizing” expectations about an airport’s role. In other cases, it means building support for the airport by explaining its many community benefits.

Air Service Section of the Aviation Toolkit
Provides an overview of commercial air service and discusses the connection between the airport and commercial air service development and retention.

Defining Your Airport’s Catchment Area
Provides guidance in defining the airport’s catchment area. Factors include geographical and access considerations and proximity of alternative aviation facilities.

Definitions of Air Service Incentives
Describes the various types of air service incentives that communities may use to assist in the attraction of new air service.

Establishing a Community Air Service Task Force
Provides guidance on establishing a task force to support and complement an airport’s effort to increase and maintain air service.

SWOT Analysis Considerations
Provides categories for an airport to consider when conducting a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis.

FAA Air Carrier Incentive Program Guidebook: A Reference for Airport Sponsors
Provides FAA guidance to airport sponsors interested in offering promotional incentives to attract new air carrier services at federally obligated airports.

The Small Community Air Service Development Program Presentation
Presents information on the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP).

U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP)
Provides information on the SCASDP.