31 May, 2022 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

Understanding and Managing the Dilemma of Airport Delays

The recent delays experienced at Dublin airport highlight the fine margins and balancing act required by airport operators to deliver services within an ever-changing environment. 

Operating an airport is a complex task. There are several key factors involved in delivering optimal service.  

The recent delays experienced at Dublin airport on Sunday 29th May 2022 (rte.ie) highlight the fine margins and balancing act required by airport operators to deliver services within an ever-changing environment. 

Derek Fox is a Leadership & Development Lecturer at Portobello Institute with over 30 years’ experience in learning design, management, coaching and development and 15 years experience in a large multinational corporation.

"It is easy to say ‘just hire more staff’ but there are complexities in hiring security screening staff. You cannot just hire someone on a Monday and have them working at a security lane on Tuesday.  

"This is a highly regulated industry and there is extensive training required for these key positions.  

"Add to this the seasonal changes in staffing demands, increased absenteeism due to covid (the airport is still a high-risk area for contracting covid) and the risk of employee fatigue.  

"There are strict regulations governing the duration of time a qualified security officer can screen baggage, the length of shifts, rest periods and time off.  

"These measures are in place to ensure the quality of security. Security screening is just one aspect of operating an airport, but as recent events have shown it is a critical element in providing a quality service.  

"Planning for such a situation is complex and requires specific skills and competencies," Derek said.

Portobello Institute's BSc and MSc in Airline, Airport and Aviation Management provide graduates with the required competencies and confidence to tackle these complex situations. 

Our BSc (Hons) in Airline, Airport and Aviation Management is an innovative degree that focuses on giving you a critical understanding and the skills for managing in the world of aviation. 

The modules explored in the first year include Air Cargo Services and Operations, Airport Management, Fundamentals of Airline Management & Operations, Business and Economic Environment – The Aviation Industry, Principles of Marketing for Aviation, Understanding and Managing Data and the Principles of Management in Aviation Context. 

Airport Management provides an overview of the important functions of airport management for the seamless operation of the aviation system.   

Airports have a vital role in processing air passengers and air cargo to ensure that the aviation system functions safely and securely.  

Airports are complex businesses and have a range of attributes including being landlords, providing infrastructure (terminals and runways), providing retailing environments, and providing the operational environment for airlines.   

Of course, there are many different types of commercial airports, small (local) airports, regional airports, international airports and global hubs etc. 

The focus of this module is management issues facing airport operators and these operators differ in their ownership structures, management structures and regulatory frameworks.   

It is therefore important to set the ‘management’ of airports in the context of global development of the aviation system and to distinguish airports operating in the ‘private’ sector and those in the ‘state’ sector and various positions in between.  

Globally there has been a trend in developing the ‘privatisation sector’ of airports (due to state decisions to ‘sell off’ operations in various countries).  

The module aims to provide students with: 

  • An understanding of the importance of airports to the economic well-being of regions and countries as vital growth poles and as a result the significance to the country involved. 
  • Knowledge of the key features and interfaces for airport ‘management’ 
  • Understanding of the important performance benchmarks for airports 
  • Comprehension of the issues of service quality and the airport passenger experience 
  • The need for airports to provide commercial facilities such as retailing environments 
  • Airport competition and the role of airport marketing and master planning for development 

For those who already hold an undergraduate degree and want to progress their knowledge further, check out our MSc in Aviation Management.  

If you are interested in any of our Travel & Tourism qualifications check out our upcoming courses here or get in touch with our Director of Enrolment, Brandon McLean at brandon.mclean@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0035.

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