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Airport Development Hit Hard By Pandemic

More than 90 percent of companies have experienced delays or cancellations of airport projects, with 21 percent experiencing major delays, according to initial results of an association-wide survey conducted by The Airport Consultants Council. More than 80 ACC member companies responded to the initial survey.

In addition, 72 percent of companies reported reductions in project advertisements, with 18 percent reporting significant reductions. And 29 percent of member companies anticipate major challenges with ongoing projects occurring in the near future, with only 5 percent of respondents anticipating no challenges.

“This survey confirms the immediate impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on aviation and a multitude of airport development programs underway or planned across the country,” said T.J. Schulz, president of the Airport Consultants Council. “With this survey, ACC intends to establish an initial baseline of effects reported during the first months of the pandemic within the U.S., along with trends that emerge in the months to come.”

The impact of the pandemic on capital development projects depends largely on what phase the projects are in, the ACC noted. Many projects already underway are continuing, and some projects are being accelerated at airports due to the significant reduction of travelers and operations. Many already-designed projects have been delayed for construction, but not yet canceled. New planning and design projects are being put on hold, the ACC reported. In addition, airlines have severely curtailed a number of their projects at airports.

Airport projects are being impacted by airport staffing changes, with some airport staff being reassigned to other responsibilities or being sent home. Virtual, rather than in-person meetings, are used due to social distancing requirements. Social distancing is also disrupting site visits, surveying and field test activities.