If you were among the many who traveled or worked in the airport/airline industry during the 2022 holiday season, chances are you won’t soon forget it. Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled due to inclement, if not extreme, weather across the country. Carriers grappled with staffing issues, mechanical problems, and technological shortcomings, among other things. And passengers, along with their luggage, were left stranded inside airport terminals for hours and, in some cases, days. It was the “perfect storm,” so to speak, that so many, including airport managers couldn’t wait to blow over.
Given such situations, it is more important than ever for airports, regardless of size, location, ownership, etc., to respond to critical or disruptive events in a timely and appropriate way. That is, if they are going to ensure essential functions, including landside and airside operations, are maintained at all times. Enter the need for a current and actionable Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan.
COOP plans, as airport managers know, outline the procedures to be followed when operations are interrupted and/or basic infrastructure is compromised. They provide instructions for delegations of authority, alternate facilities, interoperable communications, and reconstitution, among other things. And when developed, exercised, and updated properly, COOP plans do so in a highly efficient and effective manner.
Unfortunately, there are several pitfalls that commonly hinder an airport’s COOP planning efforts. Among them, and as explained in a new White Paper from BOLDplanning, a division of Agility, are:
- Overlooking essential airport functions and failing to identify their associated risks
- Neglecting to implement a process for ensuring emergency contact information is accurate and complete
- Failing to clearly define key teams and communicate assigned roles/duties
- Creating insufficiently “deep” orders of succession and failing to outline clear delegations of authority
- Overlooking the need to maintain accurate and detailed facility information
- Failing to document vital records and critical systems
- Continuing to rely on outdated methods t