What’s the Future of Parking?

Parking is one of the pillars of the airport business model: it’s the number one source of non-aeronautical income, and accounts for up to a quarter of total operating revenue. Last year, airports in the United States alone generated nearly $6 billion in parking and car rental fees. In other words: airport parking is big business.

Airport Parking Max Hirsh Airport Urbanism

But the viability of that business is being challenged by a major shift in how passengers travel to and from the airport. Over the past year, I’ve spoken to airport directors at 10 major hubs in the US, Europe, and Asia. They’ve all told me the same thing: although passenger numbers are up, demand for parking has leveled off, or is even declining. At the same time, ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Grab have emerged as a cheaper and more convenient way to get to the airport.

The popularity of these ride-hailing apps presents both a spatial and a financial challenge. On the one hand, airports need to retrofit landside facilities to accommodate new forms of ground transportation. On the other hand, as fewer and fewer people pay to park (or rent) a car at the airport, airport authorities need to rethink how they monetize ground access. These challenges will become even bigger over the next 5-10 years: as the introduction of self-driving vehicles and dedicated airport-to-city rail lines produces a more complex modal split among both passengers and airport employees.

Airport Parking Aerial Airport Urbanism Max Hirsh

How can airports tackle these changes head on? Many airports are hesitant to have that conversation, for a variety of structural, financial, and cultural reasons. As one of the main revenue centers, parking departments wield a lot of power within the airport authority, and are keen to keep it that way. Moreover, some airports worry that talking about declining parking revenues may have a negative effect on their bond rating. But with so much public discussion about the disruptive effects of ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before lenders and rating agencies start asking some pointed questions about how airports are engaging with those technological disruptions. Successful airports will be sure to have a credible, and credit-worthy, action plan in place.

Cultural factors also explain why a lot of airports, especially American ones, are grappling with the paradigm shift in ground access. I grew up in a typical East Coast suburb, where the only people who took public transport were the ones too poor to own a car, and taxis were exorbitantly expensive. Driving was the only realistic way to get to and from the airport. It also had a social function: a true friend was someone who drove to the airport to pick you up, even during rush hour.

But those access patterns are changing. In aging societies, older passengers prefer to leave the driving to someone else, especially before or after a flight. And in most developed economies, younger people are remarkably uninterested in owning a car—or even in learning how to drive—compared to previous generations. Both of these trends have big implications.

Driverless Flying Car Airport Urbanism Max Hirsh

What, then, is the future of airport parking, and of the airport ground access model? Ask parking operators, and you’ll likely hear that parking will continue to be a cash cow for years to come. Even if a smaller proportion of pax choose to self-park, they argue, the overall growth in air traffic will deliver a steady supply of customers. If you pose the same question to tech firms, you’ll be regaled with futuristic scenarios that envision an airport devoid of any parking at all. Passengers will be delivered to the terminal by autonomous vehicles—or travelers might forego ground transport altogether, transferring directly between airplanes and individual flying pods, akin to helicopters, that whisk them to their final destinations.

As someone who is both open-minded and pragmatic, I believe that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. It’s also clear that some airports will transform more quickly than others. Those that serve metropolitan areas populated by younger, tech-savvy, and international travelers will be at the forefront of change, as urban leaders try to attract companies like Amazon by updating their cities’ transport infrastructure. Meanwhile, airports in developing countries, in rural locations, and with predominantly short-haul traffic will face less pressure to innovate. Either way, the future ground access model will need to creatively and coherently combine self-parking, ride-hailing, autonomous vehicles, and traditional mass transit. In moving towards that new model, airports need to focus on three key issues:

First, airports will need to come up with a new model for monetizing ground access, for example by introducing a flat per-person access fee. And with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of parking, they’ll need to reconsider whether now is really the best time to commission enormous new garages and CONRAC facilities. The answer? Probably not. These structures won’t be ready until the mid-2020s, by which time they may very well be obsolete. (I’m looking at you, LAX.) Instead, successful airports will develop scenarios for multimodal ground transportation centers that can flexibly accommodate a variety of access modes, and that anticipate the different needs of passengers traveling on each of them.

Schiphol Valet Parking

Second, airports will need to expand their portfolio of non-aeronautical activities to compensate for the drop in parking revenue. They can start by redeveloping existing parking lots, garages, and car rental facilities for alternative, income-generating purposes. (What might those purposes look like? Here are some ideas.) That’s a scary thought for many airport operators—but it presents a tremendous opportunity to rethink the types of facilities and services that airports offer their customers on the landside, and to design a more attractive terminal forecourt. At present, some of the airport’s most valuable real estate is occupied by parking structures. Successful airports are reevaluating whether that approach still makes sense. For example, Amsterdam Schiphol recently introduced a valet parking model, whereby passengers drop off and retrieve their vehicles at a designated area next to the terminal. While their owners are away, the cars are stored at a remote facility on the edge of the airport, thereby freeing up terminal-adjacent land for more lucrative purposes.

Uber Lyft New Orleans MSY

This brings us to the third issue, namely the future of parking operators and airport parking departments. Less successful ones will dig their heals in the ground, and their heads in the sand: they’ll ignore the disruptions taking place in their industry, and delay the effects for as long as possible. Successful parking professionals, on the other hand, will endeavor to improve the quality of their existing product, for example by adopting the valet model discussed above, or by offering services geared towards particular customer segments, such as travelers with limited mobility. They will also reposition themselves as mobility service providers, whose task is to ensure a smooth transition between air travel and a variety of ground transportation options. There’s a definite need for that kind of expertise: right now, many airports accommodate ride-hailing services on an ad-hoc basis inside parking garages, leading to significant safety and congestion issues. There are also a lot of open questions about how autonomous vehicles will interface with the terminal, and how they will be stored and maintained when not in use. A truly future-oriented parking operator will propose innovative ways to redevelop existing facilities into ground transportation centers that can flexibly combine—and monetize—a wide range of transport modes under one roof.

The future of parking has much bigger implications beyond just airports. Parking lots and garages consume an enormous amount of valuable urban real estate, much of which may be rendered obsolete by new transport technologies and emerging mobility patterns. Opportunities for redevelopment abound. To be successful, these projects will require both creative thinking and close collaboration between parking operators, commercial developers, architects, engineers, and urban planners. The same holds true for the future of airport parking.


Three Big Shifts in the Passenger Experience: Is Your Airport Ready?

Rapid and unpredictable changes make aviation both an exciting and an exhausting industry. In the coming decade, three big paradigm shifts—in ground access, security screening, and travel retail—will fundamentally change how airports interact with passengers, and how passengers experience the airport.

These shifts will transform the way we design and operate airports. They will also have a big impact on how airports generate income. Here’s a quick look at what’s ahead:

UberHow Passengers Arrive at the Airport

Parking fees are one of the pillars of the airport business model, accounting for up to a quarter of total operating revenue. But that model is being undermined by a major shift in how passengers are traveling to and from the airport. In the next decade, as ride-hailing apps like Uber increase in popularity—and as self-driving vehicles become a reality—fewer and fewer people will be paying to park (or rent) a car at the airport.

Whether they like it or not, airport operators will need to identify new types of non-aeronautical activities to compensate for the resulting decline in revenue. They’ll also need to redevelop existing parking lots, garages, and car rental facilities for alternative, income-generating purposes. This paradigm shift in ground access is a scary thought for many airport execs—and rightly so. But it also presents a tremendous opportunity to rethink the types of facilities and services that airports offer to their customers on the landside, and to redesign the airport’s access roads and forecourt. How will architects and planners engage with that challenge?

China high speed railAt the same time as parking declines, some airports will begin to transform into intermodal transport centers, embedded in long-distance railway networks. That concept is well established at European hubs like Amsterdam, Paris, and Frankfurt, and it’s on the agenda for Asian and Middle Eastern ones like Istanbul, Shanghai, and Tehran. Thinking ahead, some airports are even evaluating the potential synergy effects that could be derived by linking air terminals with hyperloops.

Overall, this intermodal transition will be good for airports, who can grow their catchment area through high-speed connections on the ground. But opposition from airlines, along with poor coordination between air and land transport ministries, will likely create hurdles. The solution may lie in new forms of cooperative governance, cross-investment, and profit-sharing across various transport sectors.

Bottom line: Whether it’s because of Uber in the US or high-speed trains in China, how your passengers travel to and from the airport will fundamentally change in the coming decade. That has big implications for terminal design.

Dubai facial recognition security screeningHow Passengers Go Through Security

The automation of security procedures, coupled with the introduction of facial recognition technology, will transform the way passengers experience the transition from landside to airside. Further down the line, it may even render that division obsolete.

In an ideal scenario, these new technologies will eliminate queues, and will make the overall screening process more efficient and less stressful. With that goal in mind, Dubai is planning to unveil the world’s first biometric border checkpoint next year. Passengers will walk through a “virtual aquarium” that will scan their faces, eliminating the need to wait in line. (They will need to apply for pre-clearance, though.)

Airport authorities like the idea of automated security because it brings down labor costs. But automation will also bring new challenges. Most of these technologies are expensive and do not have a proven track record. In essence, we’ll be using the airport terminal as a venue to beta-test them. Glitches—ranging from a short delay to a full-on cyberattack—are inevitable.

Moreover, new technologies can only fulfill their promise if your passengers know how to use them. User interfaces need to be intuitive and accessible: they should be designed for a broad range of travelers, not just for road warriors and engineers. At a recent Aerial Futures conference in Los Angeles, Corgan’s Samantha Flores drove that point home: since many passengers are not frequent flyers, they will be confronted—and confounded—by new technologies every time they fly. How will airports engage these types of travelers?

During a recent visit to a major U.S. hub, I observed an elderly couple try to enter a body scanner at the same time. They were visibly nervous and did not speak English. Two TSA employees, who became increasingly frustrated, could not effectively communicate the importance of entering one by one, leading to a 10-minute delay in the security line. What kinds of innovations—in staff training, in passenger education, and in pictogrammatic signage—could prevent these kinds of incidents from recurring?

Bottom line: In order to harness the full potential of new security techniques, successful airports will strive to improve the technical literacy of all of their customers. They will also develop low-tech contingency plans that can be quickly deployed when technology fails.

Concessions ShowroomHow Pax Spend Time (and Money) in the Terminal

Lastly: big changes are afoot in travel retail, as airport shops begin to operate more like showrooms and entertainment spaces and less like venues for making purchases and obtaining merchandise. As the volume of physical products shrinks, we’ll likely see a counterpart expansion of customized services that respond to the needs and desires of specific passenger types.

Successful airports will devise retail strategies that combine online and offline sales channels in a creative and profitable manner. And in order to spur innovation, concessions contracts will need to be reconceived beyond the traditional metrics of footfall and minimum annual guarantees. But that’s a complex topic that deserves its own article—more on that next time.

Bottom line: The shift towards showrooms may be a boon to space-constrained concessions operators, who will need to store less merchandise on the airside. But along with the changes in ground access and security discussed above, the transformation of travel retail will challenge existing ideas about how to design, operate, and monetize an airport. Close coordination between aviation authorities, airlines, retailers, security agencies, and last but not least architects and planners is essential in order to innovate the terminal design process. Is your airport ready?


How Can We Build Attractive Neighborhoods Around the Airport?

Around the world, airports are growing—and so are the cities that they serve. How can those two processes—airport growth and urban growth—be coordinated for mutual benefit?

That question was on my mind while I was preparing a keynote speech for a conference in Vantaa, Finland. Vantaa is home to Helsinki’s international airport and is an emerging hub for long-haul traffic between Europe and Asia. Due to Finland’s location on the northeastern edge of the EU, transiting via Helsinki shaves an hour or two off the flight time to destinations in East and Southeast Asia. In recent years, Finnair has reoriented its route network towards Asia, promoting Helsinki-Vantaa as a new “shortcut” between the two continents. To accommodate that growth in traffic, Finland’s airport authority has unveiled an ambitious new master plan, designed around the needs of long-haul and transfer passengers.

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But it’s not just Vantaa’s airport that’s expanding: so too is the city itself. Over the next few decades, Finland’s population will become concentrated in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Whereas Helsinki faces a shortage of developable land, Vantaa has room to grow. The challenge for Vantaa is one that confronts cities around the world:

How can we coordinate airport expansion plans with the construction of attractive neighborhoods in the surrounding area? And how can we develop these areas to address broader challenges related to tourism and housing?

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These questions were the topic of a two-day event in Finland that brought together planners, politicians, airport executives, architects, and real estate developers. The conference took place at one of the nicest airport hotels that I’ve stayed at. Surrounded by pine forests, the hotel is part of a new urban district called Aviapolis. The project is being built with three goals in mind. First, it addresses the demands of a growing population by providing housing for an additional 20,000 residents. Second, through the development of attractive commercial and entertainment facilities, the project aims to create a dense, walkable city center—something that Vantaa currently lacks.

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Finally, Aviapolis will be a place where visitors can get their first taste of Finland, and of Finnish culture. As all passengers will travel through the area on their way to and from the airport, Aviapolis will be the first impression that foreign visitors will have of the country. Coming up with creative ways to curate those memorable first (and last) experiences is therefore an important dimension of the project.

These are ambitious goals. To tackle them, Aviapolis’s planners have done a number of things right. For one thing, they made sure that the necessary transport infrastructure is already in place. A quick and comfortable train zips passengers from the airport to Aviapolis in two minutes, and onwards to downtown Helsinki in less than half an hour. The area’s connectivity is further boosted by its proximity to Helsinki’s outer ring road, Finland’s busiest highway.

Aviapolis’s promoters also recognize that a shared strategic vision—one that is developed jointly by the airport authority, by the local municipality, and by real estate developers—is crucial for this new type of airport urbanism to succeed. Coordination is key to ensuring that future developments at the airport and in the surrounding area complement rather than compete with each other, and deliver a healthy return on investment for both public and private investors.

And perhaps most importantly, they understand that successful projects like Aviapolis are designed with the desires of visitors, residents, and airport employees in mind. In fact, encouraging interaction between those three actors—visitors, residents, and people who work at the airport—is the key to creating a dynamic and attractive urban environment.

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Doing so requires both a compelling design vision and a coherent economic development strategy. To that end, Vantaa recently held an international competition to generate innovative ideas about what Aviapolis should look like, and what types of functions it should incorporate. One of the winning entries, designed by Stockholm-based Mandaworks together with the Portuguese firm MASS, envisions Aviapolis as a vibrant community “where local life meets global flows.” Their proposal aims to attract a diverse range of residents—from the knowledge worker to the baggage handler—through a variety of housing typologies, and through the provision of high-quality services and recreational spaces. At the same time, it draws on the proximity to the airport—and its global mix of travelers—in order to invest Aviapolis’s public spaces and commercial zones with a cosmopolitan flair.

Designed for both locals and visitors, airport urbanism projects like Aviapolis address two key challenges that many cities are already facing, or will begin to face in the near future.

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First, while tourism has become a major driver of the urban economy, it’s also threatening the vitality of our inner cities. In places like Barcelona and Chiang Mai, the exponential increase in tourists is creating significant capacity issues, as historic city centers are incapable of absorbing the sheer volume of visitors. Building attractions and places for visitors to stay outside the center is one way to relieve pressure on the urban core, and to spread the economic benefits of tourism to the wider region.

The airport, where those tourism flows originate, is a great place to start.

Let’s return to the example of Vantaa, where the airport hotel is already quite popular with Asian tourists. On any given night, hundreds of visitors from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, and Singapore use the hotel as a convenient stopover en route to other European destinations, and as a base for exploring Helsinki. Figuring out how to get those visitors to spend more time in Vantaa itself is the next step.

That’s the first challenge.


The second challenge? Right now, many cities are in the midst of a housing crisis, caused by a number of complex factors that I won’t go into here (but read this, this, and this if you’re interested). Building new neighborhoods outside the center is one way to address that shortage: but it will only succeed if people view those developments as a desirable place to live, rather than as a residence of last resort.

The attractiveness of these new developments depends on three key factors: good connectivity to established population centers; the provision of public services such as education and health care; and diverse options for shopping, recreation, and entertainment.

Here again, the airport—typically one of the best connected places in the region, as well as a major center of employment—is a good place to start. That said, any residential development needs to be sited at a generous distance to the airfield, well beyond the airport’s noise contours. These projects also need to be closely coordinated with the airport’s future expansion plans in order to prevent conflicts further down the road.

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What’s missing from the mix in Vantaa, as in most airport areas, is an element of fun. Ultimately, urban development around the airport isn’t just about providing jobs, housing, and infrastructure—those are just the basics. But if we really want to create a new type of airport urbanism that is irresistible to both residents and visitors, we need to focus on things that people enjoy doing in their free time: playing with their children, relaxing with friends over a tasty meal, shopping for unusual products, listening to good music, going for a walk in nature. If airport urbanism projects like Aviapolis offer appealing venues where these activities can take place, then they will have no problem at all attracting both one-time visitors and lifelong residents.

Greenfield Airports and Urban Growth: What Drives Success?

Around the world, an exciting new generation of greenfield airport projects are currently in the pipeline. Beijing is building a second international hub at Daxing, planned by NACO and designed by ADPI in collaboration with Zaha Hadid. On the shores of the Black Sea, Istanbul is constructing a third airport on an even grander scale. And down under in Sydney, plans are afoot to design a new hub from scratch on the city’s western outskirts.

zaha-hadid-beijing-new-airport-terminal-building-daxing-adp-ingenierie-designboom-01_0All of these projects are being built with two goals in mind. On the one hand, they aim to increase capacity in dynamic aviation markets where passenger and cargo volumes are set to grow for the foreseeable future. At the same time, these greenfield projects double as a strategy for large-scale urban development on the ground. Beijing, Istanbul, and Sydney have all experience rapid population growth over the last few decades. Building major infrastructure projects like a greenfield airport is one way to expand these cities’ footprint beyond current boundaries and, in so doing, to relieve pressure on the historical city center. From the perspective of local and national governments, these airport projects are as much about increasing aerial connectivity as they are about creating jobs and educational opportunities in underdeveloped parts of the urban region. In Beijing, Daxing is just one of many satellite cities being built on the periphery of the Chinese capital. In Sydney, the new airport will form the core of the so-called Western City, and will serve as a structuring device for the Australian metropolis’s next major wave of urban growth.

sydney-zones        With thoughtful planning, these two goals—increasing air capacity and expanding the city—can be complementary. But cities like Beijing, Istanbul, and Sydney also run the risk of making big mistakes early on in the design process that can lead to enormous social, financial, and environmental costs further down the line. At best, these greenfield projects will generate vibrant new airport hubs and will bring jobs, services, and amenities to poorer and peripheral parts of the urban region. At worst, they risk becoming white elephants: isolated on the urban fringe, unpopular among airlines and their customers, and eating up vast sums of public and private money that could have been better spent elsewhere. Tokyo Narita and Montréal Mirabel serve as cautionary tales, and as negative examples that no one wants to repeat.

Planning a successful greenfield airport—one that effectively manages traffic in the air and stimulates urban development on the ground—requires a deep understanding of both the global aviation industry and the local urban context.

But whether you’re planning a new airport in Australia, China, or Turkey, the success of these projects boils down to a discrete set of issues. Below, I’ve outlined five critical drivers that fundamentally determine the success or failure of a greenfield airport:


Given the scale of development, greenfield projects tend to cut across various geographic and administrative boundaries: towns and provinces on the one hand, and government ministries and regional planning authorities on the other. The more actors that are involved, the harder it becomes to implement a coherent long-term growth strategy for the airport and the surrounding communities. That’s why it’s crucial to establish a supra-jurisdictional governing body for the airport area: one that brings all stakeholders to the table, and that creates a forum where binding agreements can be negotiated and enforced. If not, your future planning strategies will become bogged down by local politics and torpedoed by individual interests.

Successful airports like Amsterdam Schiphol have developed coordinating bodies that moderate a productive dialogue between public- and private-sector stakeholders. Dedicated airport-area institutions enable airports to identify synergistic development strategies, and to avoid the protracted lawsuits and institutional paralysis that plague their less successful peers.


Existing airports in the same catchment area will inevitably have an advantage over an upstart airfield. Chances are that these older airports will be located much closer to major population centers, and will therefore be more popular among passengers and businesses. And unless there are serious problems at the old airport, airlines will prefer to stay where they are rather than move house.

On the financing front, private investors tends to shy away from the risks inherent in any greenfield project, favoring established airports with a proven track record of operational transparency and reliable returns on investment. (See an article on that here.) How can greenfield airports encourage pax, airlines, and businesses to relocate to a much more distant location, and how can they demonstrate the new airport’s viability to skeptical investors?

One approach is to force the existing airport to close—although I doubt that creating a monopoly will serve you well in the long run. Barring that, greenfield hubs need to consider a range of financial, practical, and qualitative incentives that will draw customers to a distant and untested site. Will the new airport offer tailored amenities for specific pax types? A more attractive pricing structure for airlines? Better housing and services for employees of airport-area businesses? All of these options need to be considered from day one.


Greenfield airports tend to be built very far from the CBD. That distance gives operators a lot of flexibility—no curfews, no encroaching developments—but it also makes it difficult to attract customers. The most successful greenfield airports tackle this challenge from the get-go by planning a variety of ground access options that vary by price and speed. In so doing, greenfield airports can appeal to both busy professionals (who prioritize time over money, and prefer a reliable high-speed access mode) and to commuters and leisure customers whose main concern is cost. When one system fails—a traffic jam on the motorway, or a signal failure at a railroad junction—travelers can quickly turn to alternatives.

The takeaway: leading greenfield airport projects—I’m looking at you, Hong Kong—incorporate a wide range of ground access options: expressway, high-speed rail, metro, ferry, and helicopter. Relying on a single transport mode is a recipe for disaster.

Brand-Content-Marketing-1-1940x1293A Clear Brand Identity

As aviation markets mature, they often develop into multiple-airport regions (MARs) where two or more airports serve the same catchment area. MARs work best when each airport has a clear understanding of its purpose in relation to other airports in the region, and is able to communicate that mission to its customers with a clear brand identity. Will the greenfield airport specialize in long-haul service? Low-cost flights? Cargo services? Particular geographic markets, such as Asia or the Middle East? Will the airport have one or more home carriers, and will the adjacent airport city have a reliable anchor tenant? (Answer: it better!) Will it be a hub for a specific airline alliance like OneWorld or SkyTeam? Above all, how will your greenfield project differentiate itself from existing airports? If your only answer is “location,” then you’re in for a bumpy ride.

As the urban planning expert Robert Freestone notes in a recent article, current greenfield projects in Sydney (and in Beijing, I might add) have yet to communicate a clear identity to the flying public. Establishing that identity early on in the planning process is crucial for the successful launch of these projects, and to ensure their long-term viability.

kcap dublin airport cityIntegration with the City

No greenfield site is truly a blank slate. In order to design successful large-scale urban developments that are based on accurate demand forecasts, it’s extremely important to be aware of the social, cultural, economic, and environmental dynamics of the urban region surrounding the new airport. What industries are already located there, and how could potential synergies with the airport be incorporated into future plans? What kinds of businesses, services, and amenities are currently missing from that part of the city, and how could the urban districts being built around the airport productively engage with those unmet demands? On the jobs front, do local workers have the skills that the future airport will need? If not, how can new employees be enticed to the region, and how can current residents be brought up to speed?

Lastly, how will ecological issues like water management and urban food security factor into future development plans, and to what extent will they alternately constrain growth or open up new models of urban design? As Sydney’s environment commissioner Roderick Simpson pointed out at a recent talk sponsored by Urbis, these are questions that any serious airport-area developers need to be asking themselves.

The takeaway: successful greenfield projects need to be attractive not only to passengers and airlines, but also to local businesses and residents: as a place to work, as a place of recreation and consumption, and also—at a generous distance—as a place to live.

j0442499    Planning for Success

It’s crucial to consider these five drivers of success before a single master plan has been drafted, and before a single tender has been issued. Discussing these issues is also the first step towards articulating a compelling vision of what the new airport aims to achieve, and to communicating that vision to investors and the public at large. Apart from a few industry wonks, very few people can relate to technocratic concepts like the “aerotropolis” and “airport city.” How can the future airport craft a story that allows everyday folks to connect with the greenfield project’s broader goals, and to become enthusiastic about its potential to bring vitality to underdeveloped parts of the region?

Simply put—how can a new airport communicate a vision that will convince a passenger, an airline, a business owner, or a local resident to trek dozens of kilometers to the very edge of the city? And how can that vision be broadcast through media, exhibitions, public events, and word of mouth?

That’s the multi-billion dollar question.

Because ultimately, communicating that vision, and identifying the steps needed to realize it, is the biggest challenge for greenfield airport projects all over the world.

Three Takeaways from Passenger Terminal Expo

I recently had the pleasure of attending this year’s Passenger Terminal Expo in Amsterdam. It’s a huge event, with hundreds of talks and thousands of visitors, and it provides a good overview of the larger trends and challenges in the airport industry. Here are my three takeaways:

big-data-airport1. Airports have a lot more passenger data—but not enough ideas about what to do with it

One of the biggest themes of this year’s expo is the impact of big data. “Data is the new currency,” Tanja Dik, Schiphol’s director of consumer products and services, declared. “If you don’t care for the data, you’re out of the business.” Plenty of talks outlined the techniques that airports are using to acquire passenger data—but frighteningly few explained how that data is being interpreted, and how those new insights are delivering tangible results in terms of additional revenue or an improved customer experience.

A presentation by Kathleen Boyd, Houston Airport System’s head of marketing, was a welcome exception. Drawing on credit card transactions and license plate captures, her team has been able to pinpoint where each passenger lives, right down to the level of individual city blocks. They combined these data points with insights drawn from the airport’s wifi network—which tracks which language passenger’s devices are set to—to develop highly detailed “psychogeographic profiles.” These profiles categorize travelers according to their average age, income, and household size. They also highlight each group’s unique features: attributes like whether a passenger is likely to live in a bilingual household, own an iPad, value physical fitness, or donate to political causes. Houston used these insights to identify the services and amenities that each pax type cares most about–such as healthy food, or free wifi–along with what kinds of retail outlets and communication channels are best able to meet each demographic’s specific needs.

The takeaway? The case of Houston shows how useful big data can be if you know how to apply it. But many airport authorities seem to be focusing more on the accumulation of data rather than on its analysis. If you don’t have a strategy for how to plug those new insights back into the terminal planning process, then those big data initiatives could end up being a huge waste of time and money.

SFO parking garage2. Airports are facing a big decline in parking

Parking fees are one of the largest sources of non-aeronautical income. According to the FAA, U.S. airports derive about 20% of their total operating revenue just from parking. Unfortunately, a paradigm shift in ground access patterns is about to put a big dent in that revenue stream. As ridesharing apps like Lyft, Uber, and Didi Chuxing increase in popularity—and as self-driving vehicles become a reality—fewer and fewer passengers will be parking their own cars at the airport. The shift may be gradual, but the writing is on the wall.

Several execs confided that their airports had seen a drop in parking income last year, despite healthy increases in overall pax figures. Whether they like it or not, airports need to start thinking about other types of non-aeronautical activities to compensate for that decline. Imposing access fees may recover part of that lost income, but it’s unlikely that a fee-based model alone will do the trick. At the same time, as the architect Curt Fentress pointed out in a recent interview, airports need to consider how to redevelop existing parking lots, garages, and car rental facilities to make them suitable for alternative, revenue-generating purposes. Don’t know where to start? Click here for a few ideas.

Airbräu-Biergarten im München Airport Center3. Airports are going local

Finally, there’s a big push at many airports to “go local”—that is, to incorporate local culture and local vendors into the airport experience. Airports are doing that for a variety of reasons. Research conducted by Munich Airport’s customer experience expert Thomas Hinterholzer reveals that feeling welcomed and connected to the local culture is a big driver of passenger satisfaction. That’s why Munich emphasizes Bavarian hospitality as a key development guideline, which passengers can experience first-hand in an outdoor beer garden, located in the airport forecourt. Similar developments are taking place in Amsterdam, where Schiphol airport has successfully test-piloted a food truck program called The Flying Trucks (!). The trucks bring in a steady supply of tasty treats, cooked on the spot by local chefs—a distinctive feature enjoyed by passengers, and by the thousands of people who work at the airport.

Local touches also help airports to establish a brand identity that isn’t tied to a particular airline, and that showcases the positive features that make their host city an exciting travel destination. Cincinnati’s Brian Cobb explained how his airport has done that by partnering with the city’s zoo, ballet, and natural history museum: curating an exciting array of performances and exhibitions that travelers enthusiastically document on social media. In a similar vein, Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport hosts exhibits sponsored by local governments and tourism bureaus as a way of introducing visitors to distinct aspects of Taiwan’s culture, such as Sanyi wood sculptures and the annual Tung blossom festival.

As I’ve discussed before, going local has a lot of benefits for airports, including additional revenue streams, improved customer satisfaction, and better relations with surrounding communities. It’s nice to see that taking shape at airports all over the world.

How is your airport thinking about local culture, big data, and the future of parking? Share your ideas in the comments below, or get in touch with me here.

Make Your Airport an Entertainment Center

This is the second in a series of articles that discusses a new approach to airport development called Airport Urbanism, or AU for short. Today’s topic? Entertainment!

A few years ago, some friends decided to kidnap me on my birthday. They blindfolded me, put me in a taxi, and told me that we were on our way to the airport. When we got out of the cab, I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear crowds and the roar of airplanes overhead and—after I was led indoors—was aware that we were in line for a security screening. One of my friends handed me a boarding pass as we passed through a metal detector. I started to panic. I hadn’t packed anything! Where were we going?

A few moments later, the blindfold was removed and I was staring, amazed, at this:


We were at the airport—Hong Kong’s airport, to be exact—but we weren’t inside the passenger terminal. My “boarding pass” was, in fact, a concert ticket. My friends had decided to surprise me by taking me to see one of my favorite bands perform.

They were playing at AsiaWorld-Expo, a convention center located at Hong Kong International Airport. Twenty years ago, advocates of the “aerotropolis” model argued that every airport needed large business meeting facilities. But like many similar aerotropolis projects around the world, once it was built, AsiaWorld-Expo had trouble competing with a much more attractive convention center downtown. For years, the building remained largely empty, and troublingly underutilized.


In recent years, however, AsiaWorld-Expo has become one of Hong Kong’s premier concert venues, hosting everyone from Madonna to Jay Chou. This functional adaptation was a great example of how to improvise when things don’t go according to your airport’s master plan.

It turns out that airports are a perfect place to stage concerts and other large cultural events.

Concerts create a lot of noise—which isn’t a problem at the airport. They require expertise in security screening procedures and crowd management techniques—which airport staff already have. With audiences skewing younger, concert venues need to be easily accessible by public transport, but also offer ample parking—check. The spectacular growth in festival tourism—where people fly to a city for the single purpose of watching their favorite bands—likewise favors airports. Lastly, artists on a tight schedule need to be able to fly in, perform their act, and fly off to the next gig. For airports, that’s a not a problem.

Hong Kong isn’t the only airport that is starting to function as a center for popular entertainment. In South Korea, Incheon airport’s reputation as a place to spot pop singers and movie stars has spawned a quirky phenomenon known as “airport fashion”:

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Devoted fans and paparazzi linger on the airside, hoping to snap a picture of their favorite actors and musicians returning from abroad. These photos—some are candid, others obviously staged—are supremely instagrammable. They circulate widely on social media, and reinforce the connection between airports and celebrity culture in the popular imagination. No wonder, then, that Incheon is now moving away from a business-oriented aerotropolis plan and towards one that also focuses on entertainment and leisure.

Airport entertainment is by no means limited to Asian hubs. For years, Frankfurt airport hosted one of Germany’s most popular techno clubs. There are also examples in North America. On a recent tour of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, kindly organized by the Atlanta Regional Commission, I visited Georgia’s International Convention Center, located right next to the airport and connected to the pax terminal by a people mover. Expecting to find a predictable schedule of professional conferences and trade shows, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an exciting roster of upcoming dance performances, cheerleading competitions, and volleyball and jiu-jitsu tournaments.

The takeaway? Airports are a natural location for large public events that require a lot of space, a sophisticated security and crowd management plan, and good connectivity to the surrounding region. Hosting these kinds of events has a number of distinct benefits for the airport. First and foremost, it increases your non-aeronautical revenue, and builds on the existing strengths of your airport’s workforce. Second, it improves your airport’s reputation among visitors—who will associate the airport with their favorite band, or an exciting tournament. Lastly, with visitors uploading thousands of images to social media, these events bring in a lot of free, positive publicity.

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How can your airport benefit by adding entertainment to its future development strategies? Often, it’s a question of existing airport facilities, and expanding them to accommodate a wider range of uses—ideally ones that capitalize on unique forms of recreation and entertainment that are already thriving in your airport’s catchment area.

A case in point: Atlanta. Atlanta isn’t just the home of hip hop royalty, but it’s also the city that’s being showcased in the entertainment industry right now. One of the most successful shows currently on TV focuses on Atlanta’s hip hop scene, and the city hosts one of the genre’s largest award shows: think of the Oscars, but for hip hop.

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College Park, the town located right next to the airport, happens to be the epicenter of that industry. It’s home to some of the most famous musicians alive today. Their music isn’t just what people are listening to all over America—it’s what they’re listening to all over the world. In other words, ATL has massive cultural capital, right on the doorstep of the airport, that other cities can only dream of. Wouldn’t it make sense to feature that homegrown talent at an airport concert arena?

That’s just one example of how entertainment can help to diversify your airport’s non-aeronautical development strategies. How is your airport incorporating entertainment into its long-term growth plans, and how can it do more in the future?

A Food-Forward Approach to Airport Development

Last month’s article introduced a new people-focused approach to airport development called Airport Urbanism, or AU for short. In a nutshell, the AU model aims to strengthen the relationship between the airport, passengers, and local residents in order to improve the passenger experience, benefit local communities, and increase non-aeronautical revenue. Read more about the AU model here.


Thinking about the relationship between passengers, residents, and the airport empowers us to see more clearly what passengers want, what local residents can offer, and how the airport can benefit by bringing them together. By matching the needs of your airport’s unique passenger mix with the skills of the people who live near the airport, the AU Model opens up a range of site-specific growth strategies that go far beyond conventional approaches to airport-area development.

This is the first in a series of articles that examines some of those strategies. Today’s topic? Food!

Most cultures attach great importance to food: eating together, and giving food as gifts, are universal ways to reinforce social ties with friends, family, and business partners. Food is also an essential part of daily life: simply put, everyone who flies needs to eat while they’re traveling.

Unfortunately, airports are not typically considered to be culinary hotspots, to put it mildly. In fact, many people dread having to eat in airports. Traveling around the world’s major hubs, I’ve often been struck by how hard it is to find tasty, healthy food that reflects local culinary traditions: either to eat on the go, or to bring back as presents.

That’s surprising, given three major shifts that work in airport food’s favor.

The first is the fact that airlines—taking their cue from the low-cost sector—have drastically cut back on in-flight meal services. Frequent flyers and business travelers are also finding that the food in airport lounges just ain’t what it used to be. The upshot? A lot of hungry travelers.

Second, thanks to the rapidly changing demographics of air travel, passengers have developed much more specific expectations about what they want to eat while in transit. Individual niche markets—such as organic and halal food—have become large enough to be economically significant. Yet at many airports, these dietary needs are not being met, leaving willing customers with empty stomachs.

Finally, the rise in culinary tourism has elevated food to an essential part of the travel experience. This is especially true among Asian tourists. Travel guides written in China, Japan, and South Korea place an incredible emphasis on local food specialities, which are popularized by dozens of TV series dedicated entirely to food tourism.


Many Asian tourists structure their travel itineraries around meals, going out of their way to sample unusual foods even if it requires a major detour. Before they fly home, they stock up on unique local delicacies to bring back to their friends, family, and colleagues.

These travelers’ enthusiasm for all things gastronomic is part of a larger global trend that values local cuisines and locally produced food.

Airports located in cities with a strong culinary reputation are uniquely positioned to take advantage of that trend.

Take Paris’s Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport. CDG is one of Europe’s leading hubs, hosting nearly 70 million pax per year. It’s also the gateway to France: a country that has a well deserved reputation for delicious regional cuisines which, in turn, are complemented by a dizzying array of culinary traditions from the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Tourists and business travelers arrive at Charles de Gaulle with high gastronomic expectations.

At the same time, CDG is surrounded by towns that boast an extraordinary culinary diversity. Here’s a sample of some of the thousands of food photos that local residents have recently uploaded to social media:


These images attest to two of the main reasons why people visit Paris: its reputation as one of the world’s top culinary destinations, and the cosmopolitan atmosphere created by its diverse population.


These photos—taken by actual people who live near the airport—not only reveal an extensive knowledge base about culinary traditions from around the world, but also a network of small-scale entrepreneurs who are ready and willing to monetize that knowledge.

Food brings people together

Food, whether served for immediate consumption or packaged as a gift, is a versatile job creation strategy because culinary talent transcends lines of social class and levels of education. And all passengers, no matter where they’re from, appreciate good food! By curating a unique culinary environment—one that draws on the traditions of the airport’s home region, and on the cooking skills of local residents—airports can use food as a vehicle for generating both revenue and local employment. And in doing so, they can create a memorable sensory experience for passengers that will make them want to come back again and again.

Incorporating a food-forward approach can also help airports to improve on their existing real estate development strategies. Many airport-area office parks and exhibition centers are built with the intention to facilitate business transactions. But they often lack the kinds of convivial spaces—a boisterous restaurant, a quiet wine bar—that are essential for building trust among business partners, and where discussions that began in the boardroom can be continued in a more informal atmosphere.

How can your airport incorporate a culinary strategy into its larger development plans? And what are some other ways to strengthen your airport’s relationship with passengers and local residents?

More on that next time!

What is the Airport Urbanism (AU) Model?

I’d like to thank everyone who contacted me about my last article, which discussed why the aerotropolis model doesn’t work. Dozens of planners, consultants, and real estate developers shared the many challenges that they’ve encountered at airports in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Across these very different contexts, a consensus seems to be emerging that the aerotropolis model simply doesn’t meet the demands of today’s airports.

This article introduces a new approach to airport-area development called Airport Urbanism, or AU for short. It outlines the AU model’s basic objectives, and discusses why it differs significantly from the aerotropolis. In a follow-up post, I’ll demonstrate the AU model’s potential through some examples drawn from specific airport areas.

Airport Urbanism: a people-focused approach

Back in the ’90s, advocates of the aerotropolis concept emphasized the airport’s role as a node within the global economy—and used that idea to advance an inflexible planning model for airport-area development. They proposed constructing entire new urban districts from scratch, made up of predetermined building types like office parks, convention centers, and logistics hubs. They also argued that this model could be replicated anywhere, regardless of local social, cultural, and economic factors.

That turned out not to be true—and many aerotropolis projects failed.

By contrast, airport urbanism focuses on an airport’s unique user profile in order to identify site-specific planning and design guidelines. These creative development strategies aim to match the needs of an airport’s particular passenger mix with the existing strengths of local communities and skill sets of local residents.

Simply put: airport urbanism focuses on people.

Why? Because at the end of the day, the economic dynamics at the airport and in the airport area revolve around three sets of actors:

  1. the airport;
  2. the passengers; and
  3. the residents of local communities who live near the airport.

Between these three actors we have three sets of relationships:


A basic relationship is between the passenger and the airport: passengers depend on the airport for their transport needs, while the airport relies on passengers as a crucial source of revenue.

Another basic relationship is between the airport and local residents. Take for example, the case of someone who lives in a town near the airport and works as a baggage handler. That’s an example of a mutually beneficial relationship, where the airport creates employment for local communities, and those towns provide a reliable source of labor.

Until now, most airport development focused on those two relationships: between the airport and passengers, and between the airport and local residents. But we haven’t considered the productive potential embedded in the third set of interactions—that is, between passengers and local communities.

Strengthening the relationship between all three actors—airport, pax, and residents—is a powerful tool for developing design guidelines that facilitate airport operations, improve the passenger experience, and benefit local communities.

Moreover, strengthening these links addresses two fundamental challenges that airports face today: one inside the terminal, and one on the airport’s edge.

Let me break those challenges down.

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First, the demographics of air travel are changing fast. Not only are there many more passengers than ever before, but they’ve become much more diverse in terms of age, income level, travel purpose, and cultural background. The result? An ever-expanding list of pax types. To name just three examples: middle-class passengers from China, medical tourists, and business travelers who fly on budget airlines.

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Each of these passenger segments has highly specialized transport needs, taste preferences, and spending habits. With more travelers than ever passing through the terminal, it’s crucial to offer a targeted experience to each of these different passenger types.

But airport design and operations aren’t keeping pace with these demographic changes.

That’s the first challenge.

The second challenge is the widening gap between airports and local communities in the airport area. In many cities, we find an airport that is growing very quickly but that is surrounded by a hinterland whose population is sinking economically. The benefits that the airport provides to its catchment area as a whole are missing in the communities just beyond the fence. Efforts to encourage growth—by, say, building office parks and business meeting facilities—often don’t work.

And that’s because this kind of strategy isn’t thinking about airport development in terms of the people involved: it isn’t matching passengers’ needs with residents’ skills.

Take a proposal for a new international trade center next to the airport. Here you have to ask yourself: is there really enough demand from arriving business travelers, or is that demand already being satisfied by existing facilities that are within, say, a half-hour drive of the airport? And do local residents really have the social and technical skills needed to work in a formal office environment? Often, the answer to both of these questions is no.


Thinking about the relationship between passengers, residents, and the airport empowers us to see more clearly what passengers want, what residents can offer, and how airports can increase their non-aeronautical revenue.

These insights, in turn, can help us to create innovative development strategies that are both economically viable and socially sustainable.

The takeaway here: a one-size-fits-all approach to airport-area planning doesn’t work. Development guidelines need to take into account the needs and desires of your airport’s unique passenger mix, and the particular skills of the people living in the communities around the airport.

Focusing on site-specific strategies, the AU model doesn’t rule out building an aerotropolis-style office park and convention center—if that’s what local market conditions really call for. At the same time, airport urbanism opens up a whole range of additional development strategies that are excluded by the aerotropolis’s narrow focus on office space, conferences, and logistics.

My next article will give some examples of these alternative strategies, drawn from specific airport areas.

What’s Wrong with the Aerotropolis Model?

When it comes to designing airports, the “aerotropolis” is one of the most influential development models out there. Yet among airport planners, it’s an open secret that the aerotropolis concept—which looks great on paper—actually doesn’t work very well in practice. So why do we keep building aerotropolis projects?


While researching my book over the last 10 years, I visited dozens of empty office buildings and underperforming logistics hubs at airports all over the world. Disappointed by what I saw, I started to think about how we can build on the strengths of the aerotropolis idea, move beyond its shortcomings, and update it for the demands of the 21st-century airport—and the 21st-century economy.

This post discusses some of the problems with the current airport-area planning paradigm. It explains how we got to where we are, and speculates on how we can do better. In a follow-up post, I’ll introduce a new development model called Airport Urbanism, or AU for short.


Since the early days of civil aviation, airport designers have tried to productively integrate the airport into the surrounding city—and to use the airport as a springboard for developing the communities located around the airfield. In the 1920s and 1930s, European architects suggested combining the airport with existing building types, such as amusement parks, exhibition halls, and railway stations.


In the United States, meanwhile, designers thought that airports should be merged with other new building types that were considered exciting and futuristic: such as supermarkets, skyscrapers, and—yes—parking lots. In 1939, the term “aerotropolis” was first used in a fanciful proposal for an airfield built on top of an inner-city office tower.


On both sides of the Atlantic, urban planners speculated that airports could be used to develop satellite towns to service the emerging logistics industry. Some, like Le Corbusier, even thought that entire new cities should be built around the airport. Like the railway stations of the 19th century, airports would thus become the focal point of urban growth.

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The notion that airports could serve as centers of urban development remained popular throughout the post-WWII era—but the idea never came to fruition. However, in the 1990s the economist John Kasarda began to resurrect some of these older concepts, and incorporated them into a development model that he called the “aerotropolis.” He argued that the airport of the future would assume the role that traditional downtowns had played in the 20th century. Kasarda claimed that in a globalizing economy, accessibility to air transport networks would be essential for doing business. Land located near the airport would become a desirable place to build corporate headquarters, convention centers, and conference facilities. The airport area would also attract logistics firms that handled high-value products and time-sensitive cargo, such as food and flowers.

This was a really interesting idea—but the problem is that it’s just not true.

A recent article in The Economist points to some of the aerotropolis’s major flaws. Simply put, the airport doesn’t have the “pull” of historic city centers, which have steadily regained their attractiveness over the last 20 years. If anything, multinational corporations (and their employees) want to be downtown now more than ever—in attractive, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. (The shifting demands placed on workspaces are also rapidly outpacing what’s available in the standard airport office park, but that’s another story.) At the same time, the urban periphery, where most airports are located, has increasingly become the home of the poor and the poorly educated.

What about logistics firms? Well, they tend to set up shop wherever it’s cheapest to do so, as long as it’s within a one-hour drive of the airport. Storing cargo right next to the airport is often a lot more expensive—and a lot less appealing.


There are a few examples where the aerotropolis model has been a huge success: places like Schiphol in the Netherlands, or Las Colinas, Texas, near Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport. But these places do well because the airports that they’re attached to are located in the middle of a dense metropolitan region, equidistant from multiple urban centers.

It turns out that proximity to an airport is no guarantee for success.

Many factors contribute to the feasibility of an airport-area development, and reducing those factors to airport accessibility alone is a fatal mistake that urban scholars refer to as infrastructural determinism. But that hasn’t stopped airport authorities around the world from trying their luck anyway—leading to dozens of failed aerotropolis projects on nearly every continent.

In private conversations, many people who work in the airport industry have readily expressed their doubts to me about the viability of the aerotropolis model. At a major European hub, one planner confessed that no one in his team believed that their airport’s plan to build an aerotropolis would generate much revenue for the airport authority, or provide employment for the surrounding communities. He explained that there wasn’t enough demand for office space, and the local residents lacked the skills needed to work in a formal business environment. He also didn’t think that the subsidies being plowed into the project would ever be recovered.

“So why are you pursuing the project?” I asked.

“Because it’s our mission to develop real estate around the airport,” he replied. “So we have to plan something.”

“Even if you know it won’t work?”

He let out a weary sigh. “The problem is that there isn’t any alternative. The aerotropolis—the office park, the conference hotel, the convention center—it’s the only model. So that’s what we have to work with.”

But is it the only model? There must be other options.

My next post will introduce a new people-focused development model, designed to produce growth strategies that facilitate airport operations, improve the passenger experience, and benefit local communities.

Stay tuned.

Why the New Asian Middle Class Matters for Airports Everywhere

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This morning’s edition of the South China Morning Post carried an intriguing bit of news: Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s full-service legacy carrier, once again reported “high growth in passenger traffic at the back of its planes, while demand for its premium cabins fell below expectations.”

This lopsided development–a slump in demand for premium service, coupled with a growing appetite for more modestly priced seats–reflects a wider trend in Asian, and especially Chinese, passenger demographics. On the one hand, a government-led anti-corruption campaign is making it increasingly difficult for wealthy Chinese to travel abroad, as their foreign purchases are being closely monitored and subjected to annual spending caps. This is particularly true for government officials and employees of state-owned enterprises (along with their family members), who make up the majority of China’s high-net individuals. Many government officials have even been required to surrender their passports, and to apply for special permission to leave the country on a case-by-case basis.

On the other hand, thanks to rising levels of income and declining visa requirements, it has never been easier for members of China’s middle and upper-middle class to travel to abroad. The same is true in nearby countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, where the middle class is set to double within the next five years. Having spent the past few years vacationing close to home, this emerging group of middle-income travelers are increasingly exploring destinations further afield in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

A 2013 study by McKinsey correctly predicted that this emerging group of passengers–by some estimates about half a billion people–would become the main drivers of Asia’s economic growth in the coming decade. Another recent study projects that, by 2030, Asia will be home to nearly two-thirds of all middle-class consumers.

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Yet the rise of middle-income Asian pax has caught many airports, and airlines, off guard.

Until recently, conventional wisdom suggested that targeting high-net Asian pax was a safe bet in terms of increasing revenue. The result was a slew of investments in high-end boutiques and premium lounges catering to the consumer habits of wealthy Asian, and especially, Chinese travelers. But now that that lucrative demographic is drastically reducing its foreign spending, these spaces are not performing very well. What can airports do to adjust to this new normal?

Over lunch last week, a colleague of mine who works in the travel retail industry complained about exactly this challenge. “Luxury products aren’t selling at all. The stores are empty!” she exclaimed. “All of my clients are asking for ways to do ‘cheap and cheerful’ concessions areas, because that’s where the demand is.”

“We need to readjust our sales strategies for a high-volume, middle-income demographic,” she continued. “But in Asia, that’s something we’ve never done before. We need to learn how to do it–and fast.”

This emerging group of middle- and upper middle-class passengers differ considerably from past generations of Asian travelers in terms of their logistical needs, aspirations, and taste preferences. How airports and airlines adjust their marketing strategies to reflect the growing influence of this demographic will be decisive in determining which airports succeed in capturing the much-coveted Asian long-haul pax market. On the other hand, those who ignore the rise of Asia’s middle class do so at their own peril.