Strategic management in general, but especially of complex organizations such as airports, places particular demands on a planning and information system.
Strategic thinking is based on the ability to ask the right questions (creative understanding), to imagine the future (to develop visions), to think in long periods and to anticipate the possible change in society and the market. In addition, however, the ability to focus on the most important aspects is also an important means of achieving success in the end.
Strategic management (strategic guidance), understood as conscious, logically structured action, concerns decisions which influence the basic orientation of a company. They serve the purpose of ensuring the long-term success of the company by developing competitive advantages.
Competitive Factor Accessibility
Business and tourism sites are linked to one another in international competition, their accessibility and their connection to distant, international business centers is becoming a key competitive factor in a globalized world.
Dominant Bottlenecks in the Air Traffic System
Airports are developing into dominant bottlenecks in the provision of efficient long-haul routes to economic and tourist locations and therefore have a high public value.
Airports are extremely complex organizations operating in many, sometimes very different business segments, and have to align themselves with public-sector goals, on the other hand they also act as success-oriented companies.
Strategic airport management consists of the daily management task of adjusting the organization to changing market conditions, fulfilling the needs of passengers and airlines, as well as many other customer groups, to gain advantages over old and new competitors, while using and developing the strengths and abilities of the company.
Balanced Goals and Strategies
The “magical quadrangle of airport management” (transport development, creation of capacity reserves, financing, environmental compatibility) is a target system of partly conflicting objectives, all of which must be pursued and reconciled in a balanced development strategy.
Communication and Information
Time and again, far-reaching decisions go far beyond the entrepreneurial interests of the airport operator and affect people throughout the region. Strategically relevant decisions must therefore not only be systematically prepared, taken and implemented, but also communicated both within the company and to all external stakeholder groups.
As for all other companies, an airport’s planning and information system must cover all the important areas of planning (completeness), map logical links between the individual planning areas (integration), be transparent to all users, and allow for simple and rapid adjustments to changed framework conditions (flexibility). Ultimately, the planning and information system must also help to reduce time and costs for planning and reporting (efficiency).
Beyond general requirements, an airport’s planning and information system must also fulfill specific requirements of the industry. It is the ability to distinguish the most important aspects from many others (focus), to be able to think in alternatives (multi-dimensionality) over long periods of time, and to go beyond monetary criteria while evaluating projects or strategies (holism) that an airport manager needs.