Airport Demand Forecasting for Long-Term Planning

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Decisions on expanding airport capacity are often controversial. Environmental impacts mean airport planning decisions are subjected to thorough public scrutiny even when financed by private investors. Where public funds are to be invested, issues of competition between airports and between the regions they serve can be as important as efficient use of public funds. Demand forecasts are central to the case for investment.

Air passenger markets are highly dynamic and strongly influenced by the regulatory environment. Markets that have been de-regulated have seen rapid growth as prices fell and new, low-cost business models emerged. Liberalisation also stimulated re-organisation of network services with concentration of demand on a few hub airports. Demand for air services increases rapidly as incomes rise, but the market is not homogenous and understanding the drivers of each market is critical. Runway assets are relatively long lived and planning for the long term has to account for the risks entailed by these dynamics.

This report reviews the state of the art in forecasting airport demand. It focuses particularly on addressing demand risk, passenger behavior and uncertainty and discusses how to make more effective use of such analysis in planning decisions.




Addressing uncertainty in airport forecasting and planning

International Transport Forum

This chapter summarises the research and results of a study conducted by InterVISTAS Consulting and sponsored by the Transportation Research Board examining how risk and uncertainty can be addressed in airport traffic forecasting and airport planning. The research developed a unified systems analysis framework that enables airport activity forecasters to identify risk factors, to understand the extent to which each risk factor introduces uncertainty into activity forecasts, and to ascertain how the risks and uncertainties are likely to interact so as to examine realistically their combined implications for air traffic going forward. Airport planners can apply the systems analysis methodology at different levels of quantitative and qualitative detail ranging from almost no quantitative analysis at all to highly sophisticated statistical and simulation based methods. This should make airport forecasting and planning more robust to uncertainty and risk although it is acknowledged that further research is required, particularly to more fully and formally integrate political risk into the systems analysis methodology.


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