Regional airports: alliances and cooperation for better connectivity

As global air passenger capacities fall in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, airlines are likely to focus on their core routes, particularly those feeding their hubs. Regional airports and the communities living in their vicinities are at risk of seeing a significant reduction in service. To revive traffic and meet the travel needs of the local population, regional airports will need to think creatively – including exploring greater cooperation among themselves to ensure viable service.

Regional airports are an important element of the aviation industry in all parts of the world. These airports generally have a significant impact on the local economy, as the local community leverages better connectivity and more employment opportunities.  

In recent years, regional airports in Europe have had to undergo significant restructuring to comply with EU regulations on state aid. Competition between airports has intensified, with airports often relying on strong incentives to attract service. These challenges are not unique to the European continent; they occur in varying levels of severity in most aviation markets around the world.

Airports must unite for the greater good

There is a strong case to be made for regional airports coming together to jointly develop an action plan, avoiding internecine battles to attract service.

The current pandemic has had a devastating impact on aviation. However, as the industry recovers, this is also the best time to pursue bold initiatives such as deeper collaboration among regional airports.  An integrated approach that aims for mutual support and growth could be a blueprint for more stable and viable regional airport networks in the future.

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