The interconnected world economy has created competition amongst the world's cities and metropolitan regions to provide efficient and competitive access to world markets for business and leisure travel as well as for the global air cargo networks. Modern international airports located near major cities, which are served by the world's air carriers has become a pre-requisite for cities to attract major corporation headquarters, offices and operations and production centers, institutions and other large employers. Modern airports can serve as catalysts for and drivers of regional economic growth by allowing efficient business travel, tourism access and development, potential air carrier and logistical hub operations. It is little wonder that in cases where large corporations are searching for new corporate headquarters and major office, operational and production facilities, the quality of international flight access and regional airport connectivity is often cited as a key consideration. For local governments, competing against many other world cities in effort to attract international companies to their cities, airport development and modernizing airport infrastructure often comes to the forefront of political agendas.
In the passenger airline markets, the significant increase in market share in favor of the low-cost carriers relative to the legacy carriers has also significantly disrupted the traditional "hub-and-spoke" model in the global aviation industry, which was dominated by the legacy carriers. In many markets, this has also increased demand share at smaller secondary or tertiary regional airports (often with more attractive landing and gate fees). Beginning in 2020 and continuing until today, the airport sector has been subject to enormous economic stress due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Airports finances are highly dependent on airline landing and gate fees as well as passenger-related fees and commercial activity at and within airports. With airlines suspending or curtaining significant numbers of flights in 2020 due to COVID related travel restrictions, this has severely stressed the financial viability of most airports and has forced many airports to seek government support in order to avoid defaulting on payment obligations. Certain airports that have been able to diversify away from passenger-related revenue sources (such as airports serving as retail shopping malls or global logistical hubs) have in some cases faired better. All of these items above, combined with the fact that airport development and modernization is an extremely capital-intensive undertaking, represent some of the significant challenges faced in the airport industry.
DCS assists our public and private sector clients with evaluating, planning, financing, developing, constructing, operating and managing airports and related air-side and land-side aviation infrastructure. The significant and unprecedented challenges facing the airport industry, as set forth above, are very real and serious challenges that airport owners and operators demand comprehensive and long-term solutions for. Our DCS team of airport sector experts is eager to help assist our clients with solutions to even the most challenging problems. DCS experts have significant experience structuring and negotiating all types of airline use and lease agreements, including compensatory, residual and hybrid agreement types and "majority in interest" (MII) provisions. In addition, we have significant experience as well with the financing and development of airport "special facilities", including aircraft maintenance, aviation training, air cargo logistics, parking and transportation, rental car, aircraft fuel supply and other airport supplemental facilities. Our expertise in the airports sector includes the full spectrum of contractual/ownership models ranging from conventional public sector shareholding, to privatizations and all variations of public-private partnership models.
Supplementing our own extensive skill sets, DCS experts also maintain relationships with related airports sector project external consultants and participants including: both international and local legal advisors; technical, engineering and environmental/social advisors, economic/market consultants; contractors, vendors and technology providers; strategic and financial equity sponsors; lenders (including commercial lenders, international/development financial institutions (IFIs/DFIs), Export Credit Agencies and Export-Import Banks (ECA/Ex-IMs), institutional lenders, bond funds and investment banks) and credit rating agencies (if applicable). We are always prepared and highly experienced in taking on a lead transaction advisory or project/program management role where we coordinate and manage (in many cases, procure and retain via subcontract) various technical, legal, commercial, tax and other consultants required for the project. On behalf of our clients we are also prepared and accustomed to leading and concluding negotiations with diverse stakeholders such as air carriers, logistics companies, rental car companies, fuel suppliers, governmental/public sector or equity sponsors/concessionaires, developers, investors, contractors and venders, lenders, rating agencies and regulators, as may be relevant for a given project.
In the airports sector, we don't view airports as simply a facility for loading and unloading passengers and cargo and for movement of aircraft. Airports are valuable global economic gateway assets, with many dimensions, including transportation, economic development, real estate development, land-use, energy and technology elements. Accordingly, we take a multi-dimensional approach to advising our airports sector clients. In most client cases, there will be a significant nexus between airport infrastructure facilities and other relevant sectors that we specialize in, such as technology (air traffic control systems, ticketing and baggage handling systems, passenger and baggage security screening systems, terminal energy conservation technologies, flight information and terminal navigation systems, airport vehicle access tolling systems), transportation (interconnected multimodal networks: airports, roads, parking facilities, rail, buses, and inland ports); real estate (terminal buildings retail leasing, "aerotropolis" commercial/mix-use development, warehousing and logistical properties, retail service plazas); energy & utilities (solar and wind installations); oil & gas (aviation fuel supply); E&C (contractors) and heavy industries (heavy equipment, automotive industries and commodities suppliers); logistics, cargo & freight industries and others, as relevant. We are prepared to bring our complementary expertise in these other sectors to our airports sector clients, as their specific project may benefit. There may be many collaborative partnership opportunities between diverse companies and public and private service providers, who may also have synergistic objectives and opportunities related to airports infrastructure assets and systems. We can help our clients expand the horizons of their project and analyze and understand synergistic economic and commercial impacts related to airports infrastructure assets and services. This will also help forge potential new innovative partnerships with both private and public sector parties, where significant added-value can be realized.
Please click on the below links to learn more about the specific services related to the airports infrastructure segment that DCS experts can offer:
DCS focuses on providing the above services in the airports infrastructure segment to the following categories of clients: