Faced with a constantly changing future, accurate predictions of aviation demand have not always stood the test of time. This is certainly the case of both airline and general aviation activity in New York State. In many cases, the change in activity levels at an airport would also signal a policy or priority change in either the development or funding of that facility. Other related problems would develop when forecasts were developed by different firms or agencies for the same airport. Seldom would these forecasts be consistent, particularly if they were completed in different timeframes.
Recent experience has shown that the airline mergers (particularly the USAir-Piedmont merger) have changed the structure of the airline industry resulting in renewed emphasis on hub-and-spoke networks. These changes can impact a commercial service airport in a boom or bust manner. General aviation, on the other hand, has never recovered from the recessions of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Analysts believe that a fundamental change in the demand for general aviation is underway as tastes and preferences of the American public continue to evolve.
To better track the aviation activity within the State and to remedy the problems mentioned above, the NYSDOT selected R.A. Wiedemann & Associates to create a forecasting tool on a user-friendly computer system that could enjoy wide-spread utilization. This study will eliminate much of the need to perform costly updates to outdated forecasts. The end product software was distributed to the NYSDOT Aviation Bureau and to each of the Regional Planning Agencies in the State and training sessions were provided by R.A. Wiedemann & Associates.