Takeaways From 2018 P3 Airport Summit, Panel Discussion – “Behind the Curtain: What Airlines Think When They Hear P3”
Not to be outdone by the California sun, the 2018 P3 Airport Summit held July 23-24 in San Diego, cast an informative light on Public Private Partnerships (P3s) in the aviation sector. Complete with informative debates and captivating speakers, the summit was indeed a bright spot in the participants’ otherwise busy schedules. From cutting edge P3 financing solutions to accelerating project delivery, speakers and panelists grappled to find a blueprint for the optimal P3 partnership. Just before lunch on day two, the summit focused on a lively conversation with airline industry executives who provided their unique perspectives on P3 airport projects.
Panel Moderator, Michelle Rieger, Construction Practice Chair and P3 Industry Group Co-Chair at Winstead PC, guided the exchange among the industry panelists:
- Kevin Costello, JetBlue, Director, Infrastructure, Properties and Development
- Michael Minerva, American Airlines, Vice President, Government and Airport Affairs
- Gavin Molloy, United Airlines, Vice President, Corporate Real Estate
- Bob Montgomery, Southwest Airlines, Vice President, Airport Affairs
The panel examined a number of challenges with the P3 model in the airport space, from selecting appropriate financing mechanisms to determining the best means of producing an improved experience for the traveling public. Involvement of the airlines in the process, early and often, is crucial to P3 success. But at the end of the day, the key to an improved P3 model, the panelists agreed, is teamwork. A number of key comments are summarized below.
P3: THE PURSUIT OF SUCCESS, NOT PERFECTION
While P3s can be an effective project delivery tool for airport development, from the perspective of some major airlines, it seemed clear the perfect P3 is elusive. The concept of public-private partnerships (P3s) is not new to the airlines, but there are new players at the table. The advantages these players bring—distributing the financial, development and operational management burdens on large projects—can often be overshadowed by project delivery delays, operational inefficiencies and participatory inequities. Continue Reading