By Jesse McKnight, Executive Vice President, The Saint Consulting Group
(Editor’s note: this article on airport expansion explains the key role political due diligence plays in identifying and preparing for big issues facing controversial projects across all property sectors)
The biggest mistake airport operators — or developers of any potentially controversial project — make is launching expansion efforts without fully understanding the politics of planning. They skip an essential step — political due diligence.
While 72% of Americans say they’d support expansion of capacity at their local airport, according to the US Saint Index survey of attitudes towards development, airport expansion projects remain among the most controversial development issues across the US and globally.
Airports in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco will need additional capacity in 2015 even if planned improvements are carried out. In all, 14 U.S. airports will be overwhelmed by 2025, the FAA reports.
Political due diligence must include a thorough self-examination of a project’s vulnerabilities (every major project has them) and how they might be exploited by opponents. Strategies to deal with potential weaknesses must be ready from the outset. Download The Politics of Airport Expansion – McKnight