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Torborg Chetkovich, CEO, Swedavia

Torborg Chetkovich, CEO, Swedavia

» Interview | Wednesday, February 22, 2012 • Air News Times
Swedavia company runs eleven of Sweden’s airports, keeping them under one umbrella. Does that business model work?

TC: I think it is very wise to keep the airports together under one company. We can financially support the smaller airports, it is cheaper to develop e.g. marketing concept, to spread costs. The government has decided on that model and is working very well for us.

The airports outside Stockholm operate according to the ABC business model. Could you explain how the idea works?

TC: It means that all work, all activities and all changes carried out by the airports are done so under the scope of this model. That was very important we have done it because of many very small airports in the Swedavia group. We cannot have one person doing security, another cleaning and third one doing check-in. We need to be multi-skilled, that is a prerequisite. What we need to be careful about nowadays is sustainability of that model. Many young people tend to change jobs a lot faster what will bring higher education cost for us. That is something we need to watch. Also when you get older heavy physical jobs might be a problem and we need to develop our model to reach our goal sustainable employees.

What is the percentage of non-aeronautical revenues within Swedavia?

TC: It is 50-50. In our three year plan we are now looking to swapping the percentage so that 60% of the revenues will be for non-aviation and 40 for aviation revenues. We have established real estate company, but also we try to work on the existing airports to offer more interesting restaurants, shops and other things we can offer travellers.

Will the real estate company be a daughter company for Swedavia?

TC: Yes, it will be a daughter company to manage real estate landsite, one centralized entity. We have a lot of land on our airports and we have done very little to use it. We have started to build a hotel at Stockholm Arlanda however we should have done that many years ago. When we were part of the government those decisions were very difficult to take. Now we are limited company so it is easier, if you see available land and a marked for hotel you just start building it.

We own the land and the construction we do in partnership with constructor. And then we have third party who will actually operate the hotel. It is more risky than just give away land but in our long term strategy that brings more revenue.

How the recent crisis impacted you and what was the lessons learnt from that time?

TC: The lessons learnt is crisis will come and go. What we do now, we take all the experience that we gained during recession and we are now projecting what if we have passenger number dropping 10%, what we should do then. We actually are planning in advance and then we can do it if that happens. And we know it will eventually happen. The question is when. However consumers more and more tend to prioritize travel before other expenditures, even in more difficult times.

Is a privatization an option you consider?

TC: Basically it is the owners’ question. Since we are limited company we have all the possibilities. I have been in the private industry for more than 10 years and I fell that my current owners are acting as my previous ones, we have a very clear structure. We can make all the changes that we plan with a government as an owner. I have one person from the government in my board of directors, the rest come from different industries, like hotel, airline and other stakeholders.

Why the environment issues are so important for Swedavia?

TC: We try to run our airports as effective as possible, including making the most of every resource being used. Therefore, environmental questions is very important and high up on the agenda. It is also a question of aviation´s long term competiveness. The other thing is a ‘carbon cap’ that we have in the Arlanda Airport which means if you are travelling to the airport and you take your car, the carbon emissions from your home to the airport are also calculated. We try to get public transport as close to the airport as possible and convenient in the same time. It is all about accessibility and availability.

What is your goal?

TC: Customer satisfaction going up from 68 to 80%, increasing market share both domestic and international, improving profitability. Also, to increase customer satisfaction is important to increase employee satisfaction because the two are linked. All those goals are for 2014.

How important the LCC sector is for you?

TC: It is important, however we appreciate if an airline first and foremost treat customer professionally. We do not have in Sweden a home carrier that prioritize us, and that is the challenge. We have to deal with number of companies and actively look for markets, flirt with everybody and define what is the most profitable mix. But in the long term perspective maybe that strategy will be more sustainable, that we are not dependent on one player. Who knows how the future will look like.
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