When you think of businesses most harshly impacted by the recent lockdowns, what comes to mind? Restaurants and bars, hotels, and businesses deemed non-essential are likely among the first things. But those don’t hold a candle to airports. Throughout the pandemic, airport terminals went from a flurry of around-the-clock activity to ghost towns seemingly overnight. Though many passengers who had to travel benefited—faster check-ins, access to first-class lounges, and fewer delays—those on the other side of the counter were not so lucky.
An Industry in Turmoil
But if domestic airports had it bad, international airports had—and still have—it worse. Travel restrictions are still in place, meaning that it’s not just reduced capacity, it was zero capacity. Airlines around the world are expected to lose a record $84 billion in 2020, more than three times the loss made during in the Global Financial Crisis, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Airlines may have been hard hit, but this has caused a ripple effect as well. Travel and tourism—an industry that contributes 1 in 10 jobs worldwide and $8.9 trillion in GDP in 2019—could see 197 million jobs lost. With an estimated decline of 1 billion arrivals, everyone is feeling the pressure.
With a long, laborious road ahead, an expectation that business travel will never fully recover, and international travel looking sluggish for years to come, news may be even worse for some.
Government Aid Drying Up
Government entities have stepped in, contributing hundreds of billions of dollars meant to keep the sector afloat. But that might not be enough to save many companies. Stimulus checks are hard to come by, and the World Economic Forum anticipates that for companies in the sector to receive future money, governments are likely to start demanding something in return.
With calls on both sides of the aisle to let nature run its course, some are pushing for governments to support only financially sound businesses who were well-managed and stable before the crisis.
A Call for Evolution
Despite all the downfall, lockdowns are slowly easing. Some expect that the second half of the decade will see a period of growth and profitability similar to the years following the recession. However, what if there is another stimulus and what if the money only goes to financially sound or well-managed businesses?
While everyone in travel, tourism, and hospitality has been affected by changes and challenges over the past year, it’s not just the airlines who have needed to weather the storm. It takes a village to ensure passengers get onto the plane, and one example of this is terminal management.
Terminal Management—Supporting Airlines, Passengers, and Businesses
Have airport terminals been impacted by travel restrictions and lockdowns? Yes. Without a flight to support, terminals faced their own challenges. But some handled the challenges better than others.
Whether it’s run by a municipality, an airport authority, an independent operator or a consortium of airlines, terminals have to juggle a lot of responsibilities including the runways used for the takeoff, landing and maintenance of civil aircraft, the shops, and the services needed by airports.
Why JFK Terminal One Faced Less Stress Than Others
John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 1 is one of the most frequently used gates at the United States’ most popular airport for international travel. Prior Handling a healthy portion of international passengers who pass through its gates annually, this popular terminal offers on time departures and an inviting atmosphere.
Needless to say, despite being an international terminal, leaders feel this terminal weathered the storm more effectively than most. Why? First to bill, first to pay for one.
Speed and Accuracy
Thanks to MIBAR, NetSuite, and a PowerApps solution built for Terminal One Group, the terminal management company was able to manage pricing, invoice generation, and billing quickly—instead of relying on a mishmash of manual processes.
This started with a contract management solution built to handle complex contracts the terminal had with airlines. Rather than spending months trying to organize billing processes, the automated and accurate solution ensured bills were in the hands of airlines. January and February bills were delivered before the lockdowns. Without this, January and February bills would have been sent in April or May.
In turn, Terminal One was paid before airlines ended up running into problems, ultimately giving them a bit more of a runway than others.
With one of the company’s main responsibilities being ancillary services—de-icing, forklifts, air conditioning, or the like, having visibility into the products used to deliver these services was another benefit.
Once the lockdowns hit, Terminal One was able to put stops on orders when flights stopped.
More Work with Less Staff
Naturally, the drop in flights meant a drop in revenue. While they had to deal with issues, they were able to avoid declines in productivity that would have come with staff reductions to other players. Thanks to the MIBAR solution for Terminal Management, Terminal One Group kept things moving smoothly.
Runway Cleared, Terminal One is Primed for Takeoff
Though everyone in the travel space had been affected, the lockdown was much less damaging to Terminal One Group than others. Thanks to the automation, visibility, and ease of use that came from the MIBAR Terminal Management Solution, the organization not only can call itself financially sound, it’s ready to takeoff when things return.
View the full case study here.
Learn more about their pre-COVID journey to better terminal management and contact us for a free consultation.
Watch Now – Cleared for Takeoff: Challenges and Opportunities for Terminal Management in the New Normal
With travel ramping back up, airports are starting to see activity once again. If you’re looking to avoid the back-office pain points that come with a full flight board, you can’t miss our webinar. Click here to watch now.