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Airports in North America see an opportunity to make money not just on aviation, but they are increasingly focusing on non-aeronautical revenue, including from people who aren’t flying that day, as a way to cope with the volatility of the airline business cycle.
That was one of the conclusions in the 2013 Airports Council International-North America Concessions Benchmarking Survey, which found that more than 70% of airports in North America in 2013 were focusing on increasing non-aviation revenue.
The focus on non-aeronautical revenue is a big change. In 1990, less than a third of these airports were looking to tap the wallets of non-passengers as a way to balance out the revenue stream, the survey states.
In 2012, according to the FAA, U.S. airports generated $9.31 billion in aeronautical revenue, and that was 55.2% of total operating revenue. Non-aeronautical revenue wasn’t too far behind, amounting to $7.56 billion, or 44.8% of total operating revenue.
Parking and ground transportation amounted to $3.1 billion in 2012, and that was 41.2% of total non-aeronautical revenue, the largest component.
Rental cars also accounted for a big chunk at 19.8%, and hotel revenue was the smallest percentage of non-aeronautical revenue, at just 1.4%.
Food and beverage median gross sales per enplanement at North American airports in 2012 grew 3% to $5.15, while duty free, news, gift and specialty retail median gross sales per enplanement rose 6.77% to $3.31, the survey found.
If you buy a haircare product or a smartphone through an automated kiosk at the airport the next time you are passing through, you are not alone because these automated retail units are a big trend at airports in North America this year.
The survey found that that 50% of airports in North America now have such automated retail units, ranging from Best Buy Express to 3Floz grooming products.
That’s an increase from the 41% of airports (43 airports) that reported having automated retail units in 2012.
These kiosks are a growing trend at airports in North America as they maximize the use of space that might be unsuitable for traditional retail outlets, and sometimes amount to a convenience for passengers on the go.
In other findings, the Airport Council International survey found that just 39% of airports in North America have a mobile app, and that 78% of these apps use them to promote concessions.