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Range of decisions to be taken by Heathrow Authorities and management In Airport Management

Updated on January 5, 2015

Decision making is the process of selecting the most appropriate option out of various alternative solutions to a problem. The decision-making process helps in determining the desired and the most appropriate option (Ullman, 2006). When planning to build the 3rd Runaway, Heathrow authorities will need to engage themselves in a decision-making process. They will need to consider three types of decisions, namely, tactical, strategic and operational decisions. The three types of decisions are described in the following diagram:

Figures 1.0: Types of Decisions

Tactical decisions are those that enable an organization to solve medium term problems. They enable an organization to compete more effectively in its industry. For example, Heathrow authorities will need to compare the timescale and human and material resources needed to build the 3rd Runaway and the Sixth terminal with the timescale and human and material resources needed to complete the airport. Strategic decisions have a long-term impact and are big and complex. They are usually made by the senior managers. For instance, Heathrow authorities will need to determine the risks, outcomes, benefits, locations and sizes of the 3rd Runaway, the Sixth terminal and the airport. Operational decisions are those that are carried out daily at all organizational levels and they involve defined resources. For instance, the personnel at Heathrow will be making decisions daily on how to prevent or minimize cases of delays as the expansion process is being undertaken. Decisions will also be frequently made by the supervisors on the number of staff to serve specific number of customers at a given time. Although building a runaway and a terminal may seem attractive to the authorities, the outcomes of the decision-making process may show that building an airport is the most suitable option.

Any decision that Heathrow takes with regard to the scenario must weigh up alternative arguments and the interests of the environment, business, and of the residents. The choice is hard, with expected opinions emerging from both sides of the argument on whether to expand the existing airport or build another airport somewhere else. One option is to build a new airport away from the major population center in order to reduce air and noise pollution to the local residents. It is debated that almost 725,000 people are currently living alongside the runway and this implies that it is not the ideal location for more expansion. This owes to the cost of having to relocate or compensate the residents accordingly. Another factor is the risk associated with such a program. In fact if Heathrow considered expanding, it would become the largest carbon dioxide (CO2) in the United Kingdom, and therefore, a new airport in a very different place could be the best idea and would even become a dedicated hub airport.

Other parties may also argue that Heathrow has to increase the capacity of its airport to the southeast, and this would be by expanding it to include a sixth terminal and a third runaway. According to such parities, increasing the capacity of the airport would enable the UK to gain competitive advantage and realize an increased tourism. The benefits associated with the new expansion program far exceed those of building a new one. For instance, the cost will be relatively lower when compared to setting up a new airport. In addition, the process will take a much shorter time and enable Hearthrow to go on with its business than waiting for a longer time in the new airport facility.

Heathrow stands as the quickest option for building a world-class hub airport. An alternative approach such as building a hub on Thames Estuary can take many years longer than expected. Furthermore, Heathrow has an established transport link that is cost effective. Adding a third runway would create additional capacity in a cost efficient manner. The infrastructure at Heathrow is already well developed and this increases the efficiency of putting up an extra runway without much struggle or complications in the process.

What is more, Heathrow employs the largest number of people in the area, supporting approximately 250,000 families. The idea of relocating to a different hub airport would leave several people without jobs, implying that several families would be left without a daily bread. In terms of growth in air travel, the U.K transport department generated forecasts for air passengers in 2001. This forecasts predicted a noteworthy increase from 150 million passengers in 1998 to more than 400 million passengers in 2020. On the other hand, The Air Transport White Paper of 2003 predicted growth in passenger traffic from 400 to more than 600 million by 2030. Majority of these new passengers were projected to pass through the airports situated in south east of England. This is where the airport is supposed to be expanded to and these projections backs up the idea of expanding the airport.

With a new runway, up to 180,000, new jobs will be created across the United Kingdom. This expansion is not merely an argument for the southeast and for London. It is for entire Britain and the whole of British job market. Additionally, the economic growth of Britain depends highly on the increase of exports to emerging markets. A recent study also shows that flights that are direct to long-haul destinations tend to build more than twenty times trade with them. This makes the argument for expansion of Heathrow more powerful. Similarly, the UK has become a hot tourist destination and to facilitate this flourishing tourism trade is a requirement that is rather urgent. There is only a single airport, which can do this, and this is the one, which already has much more inbound than outbound tourists, Heathrow.

On the other hand, building a new airport would require massive resources considering that a new location has to be found as well as construction of the necessary facilities and infrastructure.

Development of the Alternatives

However, other alternatives could be contemplated in relation to the improving the capacity the airport. For instance, building of another airport has been considered at places such as Luton, Gatwick, and Stanstead. This is aimed at benefiting the people of these specific areas. House prices will increase, more jobs will be created, and their businesses will flourish. Some parties also argue about building another airport on Thames Estuary.

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