Concession is often considered the most appropriate form of public-private partnership to build and operate successful airport projects, but it is not straightforward. Experience has shown that airport concession projects are costly and challenging endeavours that require time to build trust between stakeholders and to agree on the allocation of risks.
Since 2020, Egis has been initiating an alternative (or precursor) to concessions which involves developing tailored airport partnerships through Technical Service Agreements (TSAs). These partnerships cover a meaningful timeframe - anywhere from 2 to 10 years - and give airport owners and managers access to a range of on-site and remote expertise to support their strategic and performance improvement objectives. Olivier Baric explains more …
Support, not replace.
With a TSA there is no transfer of ownership nor management responsibility. Instead, it allows Egis to step forward as an enabler and coach, supporting the local airport teams and giving them access to operational experts from elsewhere in the Egis airport network. Since the beginning, our approach has been to develop skills within partner airports, and then share them. For example, right now Aly Ouattara from Abidjan International Airport in Côte d'Ivoire is supporting Conakry Airport in Guinea with the certification process, and over in Tanzania, Martial Sauthat, Director of Brazzaville airport, is helping AAK International Airport Zanzibar with actions arising from their emergency exercises undertaken last year. These locally grown operational experts work alongside technical specialists from head office, with the aim to transfer knowledge and cross fertilize ideas. For employees, the change is also less drastic than it might be with a new concession holder.
Flexibility to adapt.
Given the rapidly changing dynamics of the aviation sector, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) measured through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are key to providing the necessary flexibility to impact and maintain effectiveness. A TSA can quickly adapt to the needs of stakeholders, and the focus of deliverables can switch, depending on the operational environment and available resources. At Conakry, in the first three months of the TSA, it became clear that a key change enabler was going to be engineering project management – and so one package of services was switched out to enable a focus on engineering project management to be brought in. Similarly, for Zanzibar, targets are agreed each year which link Egis activities (and remuneration) to the airport operator’s priorities.
Achieving outcomes that matter.
Just as with a concession, it is still possible with a TSA to commit to KPIs and performance-related rewards. This makes a TSA a pragmatic and strategic commercial tool that has real impact for both the airport management and the service provider. In developing the TSA with the airport stakeholders, we discuss incentives to achieve the outcomes that matter. For Zanzibar, the strategic goals cover a broad range of operational, technical/maintenance and commercial topics, but initial points of focus have included improving safety and security management, initiating preventive maintenance and ensuring customer satisfaction. Accordingly, KPIs for the year 2022 included: conduct inspections and safety audits, complete airport emergency response tests, develop wildlife management plan, compile maintenance task lists, conduct customer satisfaction survey.