Airport Market Research Project Examples
Global Airfield Safety Solutions-New Market and Target Acquisition Candidates: Foreign Object Detection, Avian Mitigation, Aircraft Recovery, Runway Incursion
Project Scope: An aerospace company was seeking to expand its footprint in global airfield safety solutions via acquisitions. Preference was for niche, standalone markets with high-growth potential; those adjacent to its current business; evidence of differentiation and protection (know-how, IP-patents), and where future market leadership (#1 or #2 share) was achievable. Acquisitions were attractive if profitable, well-managed, with likely availability. Established presence (offices and customers) in China, India, SE Asia, and Middle East was important.
Execution: Following a broad review of several possible segments, this research recommended foreign object detection (FOD), avian risk mitigation, aircraft recovery systems, and runway incursion solutions as ideal segments to consider. Each segment was analyzed in detail including: a market profile description, current size, growth trends and projections, major suppliers, market shares, regionality, key customers, market drivers and constraints. These segment assessments clearly described the "dynamic" of each opportunity, giving this company a clear understanding of business practices, supply chains, customer sets, decision-making, and airport contracting strategies.
This utilized in-house market data and select secondary information. Direct interviews were conducted with key US, Asian, and European airport industry contacts on a range of relevant topics including experience with current solutions (pros and cons), general problems and unmet needs, changing requirements, how purchase decision are made, and other key topics. Original, independent research identified a list of potential targets to pursue.
This combination of input gave the company a tailored understanding of the attractiveness of each segment of interest, rationale for a logical fit with their current airport business, a full appreciation of the dynamic of each opportunity, companies to possibly acquire, most significant advantages and disadvantages (associated risks), and requirements for long-term success.
Result: This project was an essential advance step prior to moving into M&A mode. The company now clearly understood the airport market at all levels, attractiveness of these potential acquisition pursuits in context of how the corporation evaluates opportunities, and fit with current company positions.
This directly helped accelerate the company's internal decision making for new business growth in the expanding global airport market.
Global Airport (Airfield Lighting, Boarding Bridges, Airport Structures) Business Expansion Opportunity Research
Project Scope: A European supplier of ground support equipment (GSE) for major airports wanted to expand its business into adjacent airport segments. Top airport hubs needed to grow capacity to handle projected future increases in passenger and cargo traffic and accomodate larger aircraft like Airbus A-380s. Improving terminal traffic flow was a key priority of modernization programs to reduce delays.This company saw growth opportunities in many airport segments but needed a step by step draw down assessment to ultimately select those highest potential directions.
Execution: This involved direct interviews with key decision makers and industry contacts on current solutions, changing needs, pricing and margin leverage, and getting qualified. It also used in-house market intelligence and select secondary data.
This identified ten possible opportunity directions, progressively narrowing the attractiveness to five highest scoring segments. Key criteria included: adjacency to company's current GSE focus, significant future growth potential, aftermarket potential (spares, repairs), other relevant factors.
Ultimately airfield lighting and signage, frangible airport structures, passenger boarding bridges, and two others were shortlisted as most attractive.
Result: This company now had fact-based, supportable recommendations for new growth opportunity pursuits.
This assignment also directly assisted the company in constructively resolving varying internal views. It went beyond general trend, competitive, and industry data directly to particular company interests, fully documenting major conclusions and proposed actions with industry expert input.
The company accordingly was more confident in making key growth decisions and investments.
Top US Airport Hubs-Airport Wide Information Management Systems (AWIM) New Business Opportunity Analysis
Project Scope: A provider of large-scale airport system integration solutions required a custom assessment of addressable opportunities for its capabilities in the top 30 US airports.
To augment capacity, many leading airports were planning significant infrastructure expansions.
These major integration contract opportunties were of critical interest to this company, but it did not have an accurate pulse of new and emerging opportunities at a number of leading airports.
This was a challenge. Management and decision making at airports is complex. Typically little useful data was published in the public airport domain, and then rarely relevant to this company's interests.
Execution: This involved a detailed, original bottoms-up analysis utilizing in-house and some published data sources but also direct engagement with over 100 major contacts in a cross section of airport authorities, FAA, TSA, and other key contact sources.
The focus was to provide original answers to key client questions, an independent summary and set of business recommendations. This included scoring (short listing) the broader airport market into addressable opportunities for targeted client business pursuits at specific airports.
Key decision makers included Airside and Landside Operations, Security, Maintenance, and other operational areas to obtain original insight on: changing airport expectations, individual airport requirements, funding sources, and competitive perceptions.
Also: likelihood of consolidation of multiple operations into centralized facilities, interest in communication backbone expansion, plans for airport-wide infrastructure enhancements across Airport Operations Centers, Security Operations (cameras, access control, sensors, intelligent video), Passenger Terminals, and Cargo Facilities.
In addition, direct input was obtained on funding and oversight role of FAA, TSA, related federal agencies, particular program descriptions, likelihood of implementation, price ranges, role of A&E firms, potential value of follow-on maintenance and support, funding availability, current and new suppliers.
Whenever possible, relevant sections of Airport Master Plans, Capital Plans, and related airport budget and planning documents were also obtained.
Result: This company was now comfortable it had a clear understanding, critical gaps in information were filled, and it was able to make confident decisions on top opportunity pursuits in this complex and high-growth airport market.
Company feedback confirmed this tangibly enhanced the focus and accuracy of internal sales development, resulting in above-plan revenue generation.
Airport Architectural and Engineering Firm (A&E Firm) Analysis
Project Scope: A US commercial aircraft manufacturer was considering broadening its focus into airport security. This company's strengths were principally in large-scale systems integration. Their new business group required direction on market potential and how they might best leverage their aviation credentials to off-airplane success in major US airports. This company felt its most effective strategy would be to team with major architectural and engineering firms in various regions who were well connected with airports of interest.
This was challenging as the company was not fully familiar with A&E firms and needed to better understand these service companies as a way to plan new business strategy
Execution: This project involved detailed analyis of 20 major A&E firms across the US. Each A&E firm was profiled as a candidate partner for this company, and direct contact was made with each to assess interest, relevance to this company's interests, and gather insight of specific value to this new business direction. This included: airport project billings, major US airport experience, recent airport security initiatives, relevant partnerships, types of services, key contacts and other factors.
Result: This assignment directly accelerated this company's internal planning process through assembly of information and insights on various top A&E firms, which was difficult for the company to secure on its own.
This enabled the company to make more timely and critical decisions on sales strategy for this new area of diversification.
This also allowed the company's airport systems group to secure corporate commitments for substantial additional resources in support of this important new business direction.
Heliport Lighting Solutions- New Growth Opportunity Analysis
Project Scope: A US aerospace company had recently acquired a European manufacturer with a minor business in heliport lighting systems.
After learning more about the perimeter, obstruction lighting and various ground equipment product lines they now had, several executives felt this had strong future growth potential decided to assess this business opportunity in more detail.
Unfamiliar with heliport lighting, they needed an independent assessment of market potential and future growth.
Execution: This custom research and sales strategy project analyzed the global heliport market, market growth, key solutions, suppliers, margins, and key trends. Initially, direct research was conducted with knowledgeable experts in this market to gain a grass roots appreciation of the dynamics of this market.
Major helicopter companies (Sikorsky, Bell Textron, Eurocopter) were engaged to better understand the attractiveness of its lighting products and end-user heliport markets (oil & gas, corporate, weather reporting, hospital-medical, etc.
This also examined heliports used by public safety agencies (fire, law enforcement, wildlife and resource management) and the role these products played.
Result: This tailored assessment enabled this company to accelerate its understanding of future business potential of its heliport lighting products and define highest opportunity growth areas.
This helped lay a foundation for future new business pursuits in heliports, serving as a guide to evolve this company from an underperforming player to become a major factor in this niche, high-margin aviation business.
U.S. Airport Security Services-Opportunity Assessment and Sales Growth Road Map
Project Scope: A global firm providing security solutions on contract to various industries was seeking to accelerate expansion and diversification of its business to the US airport market. This was for various security activities related to access control, restricted areas, parking and roadways, screening, and related airport areas.
This firm had won several important US airport security contracts, and wanted to leverage its credentials into new airport opportunities.
Accordingly, this firm needed highly detailed data and guidance across top US airports in order to implement and achieve successful new growth.
Execution: The US Airport security market is highly dynamic. Over half of major US airports contract out for these solutions. Although general information is sometimes published, in most cases identification of relevant, upcoming contract opportunities and other critical intelligence is difficult to obtain.
This custom market research and strategy assessment assembled extensive information on a region by region basis covering the top 100 US airports. It relied heavily on direct research input from STS network of airport contacts and key decision-makers.
This included details on current and upcoming procurements by security service categories, key airport procurement and security personnel, insight on competitive private security firms, and other topics.
In many cases, copies of winning bids were obtained including contracts start, expiration, options, and extensions.
Result: This research assignment provided a detailed opportunity roadmap of key prospects which this company directly used in planning and staging its sales and marketing activity for the next 24 months.
It greatly accelerated the success of this company in achieving its original objectives in the US airport market, and gave them a solid foundation of independent and incremental information which set them on a course to achieve dominant market share in this important area
Airport IT Budget and Contract Opportunity Analysis-Top US Hubs
Project Scope: A government IT services firm specializing in networking, training, compliance support, and noise/congestion control was seeking to broaden its business footprint in large U.S. airports where FAA support funding was available. Key source of funds for these types of IT services fell under FAA's AIP (Airport Improvement Plan) budget allocation.
Contracts related to safety and efficiency of runways, taxiways, ramps, lighting, signage, weather stations, NAVAIDs, land acquisition, noise reduction and capacity management were of greatest relevance.
Execution: This assignment initially involved extensive analysis and spreadsheet listing of potential contracts. This identified the top 200 opportunities this company should pursue, analyzed key competitors, examples of qualification criteria, and decision-making process.
Supporting direct research was also conducted with 25 top airport IT managers to provide insight and clarification of current and emerging opportunities.
Result: As a result of this company became well established in airport IT projects in a number of areas, steadily building to a new $50 million services business within five years.
After final presentation, follow on support was also provided for 15 months, identifying and qualifying specific contract opportunities and recommending capture plans.