Aviation Consulting Services
Aviation Demand Forecasting
R&A has prepared aviation demand forecasts and conducted analyses for commercial service and general aviation airports nationwide as part of long-term airport planning, short-term operational planning, and financial planning. R&A forecasts developed in support of master planning and environmental analyses have withstood detailed scrutiny by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). R&A forecasts developed for bond feasibility studies have satisfied rating agency and bond insurer requirements. We examine all components of aviation demand and conduct both top-down market share analyses, as well as bottom-up regression analyses based on demographic and economic factors. Elements of annual and peak month, average day (PMAD) aircraft operations, enplaned passengers, and fleet mix are considered. Recent forecasts have been prepared for numerous airports, including those serving Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City, San Jose, Seattle, and Tampa.
R&A has provided forecasting services since its inception in 1989, consisting of forecasts for more than 150 airports. Our core group of forecasting professionals provide services that includeannual and peak period forecasts of enplaned passengers, cargo tonnage, general aviation aircraft operations, passenger and cargo aircraft operations, landed weight, fleet mix, and origin/destination (O&D) and connecting passenger activity in support of master planning, facility planning, financial planning, and aircraft noise and air quality analyses, as well as more detailed analyses of demand for use in FAA competition plans, air service development plans, and simulation modeling, which require detailed design day schedules of activity. Key services include:
- Aviation Demand Forecasting – R&A is recognized for providing useful aviation demand forecasts for airport operators across the nation and around the globe. Our staff has forecasting expertise that can be applied to aircraft operations, and cargo activity at commercial and general aviation airports. Our forecasting consultants use a broad range of quantitative methods to provide thorough and realistic forecasts, whether through an econometric approach using regression models or market share techniques combined with sound qualitative judgment based on our knowledge of the aviation industry and economic and demographic factors.
- Design Day Flight Schedule Development – To assess the demand on and capacity of airside, landside, and airspace systems, and thereby identify future requirements, our forecasting staff develops design day schedules of airline activity. These schedules are then used to define the numbers and characteristics of passengers and aircraft using the system. Design day schedules represent flight activity that could be anticipated on the PMAD of a future year or years and include aircraft arrival times, aircraft departure times, aircraft ground times, equipment types, O&D passengers, connecting passengers, seating capacity, load factors, and the O&D markets for each flight during the PMAD. In developing a design day flight schedule, we use historical monthly airport activity reports, the FAA Air Traffic Activity Data System (ATADS), Official Airline Guides, Inc. (OAG) airline schedules, and airport traffic control tower (ATCT) data, if available, to identify the PMAD. We then analyze the daily airline schedule from OAG, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) T-100 database, FAA's Enhanced Traffic Management System Counts (ETMSC), and, if available, the ATCT data to develop the PMAD baseline schedule of operations for passenger and cargo airline, general aviation, and military aircraft. To develop future schedules, we allocate load factors, O&D percentages, and cargo tonnage by airline, O&D market, and aircraft type for each flight to populate the baseline passenger and cargo schedules. Based on professional judgment on trends in the industry, future aircraft fleet mixes, new nonstop markets, and the development of new aircraft, we apply assumptions to specific flights and markets in the baseline schedule to create a representative design day schedule for a future year or years.
- Average Annual Day Activity and Annual Landing and Takeoff Cycle Development – The development of average annual day airport activity is required as input into the FAA's Integrated Noise Model (INM), which is used to assess the potential noise effects of aircraft operations at an airport. Annual landing and takeoff cycles (LTOs) are required for air quality analyses, as input into the Emissions and Dispersion Modeling System (EDMS), which FAA requires for use in analyzing potential air quality effects of aircraft operations at an airport. Such activity is developed in a number of ways, ranging from modifying an existing schedule to obtaining radar data for a 12-month period to develop current annual activity or a schedule of aviation activity for an average day. Annual and average annual day activity can also be derived from a PMAD schedule based on a ratio of average annual day aircraft operations to peak month average day aircraft operations (or vice versa). The distribution of aviation activity by month and day under existing conditions is used to develop future schedules for an average annual day.
- Air Service Development – Developing air service is a priority at many airports and in the communities they serve. Our staff has extensive experience planning routes/networks, marketing, and revenue management (the application of inventory and pricing controls with the goal of maximizing revenue) for domestic and international airlines. We assist airport operators in attracting, expanding, and retaining air service, or in identifying potential air service improvements, and we keep our clients well-informed of changes in pricing, frequency, and seating capacity. Additionally, R&A assists clients in structuring incentives, subsidies, guarantees, changes in rates and charges, marketing, cost-reduction measures, airport-community-airline partnerships, or any other approach to encourage the development of air service.