INFRACAST
The Economics of Infrastructure | Nigel Wilcock - Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Development and Managing Director of Mickledore

The Economics of Infrastructure | Nigel Wilcock - Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Development and Managing Director of Mickledore

October 20, 2020

The Economics of Infrastructure | Nigel Wilcock - Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Development and Managing Director of Mickledore 

In today’s episode, we are joined by Nigel Wilcock to discuss the economics of infrastructure investment. This is a timely conversation as governments are increasingly turning to infrastructure to kick-start economic growth. 

Key learnings

  1. The relationship between infrastructure and economic growth is clear – the economies of Rotterdam (Euro Ports), Dubai (Airport), or Lyon (TGV) would not have their global status without the infrastructure investment which has occurred
  2. No one single asset class will transform an economy – Government needs to examine where specific infrastructure is required (roads, rail, utilities, broadband, etc) and invest accordingly
  3. Governments, Developers, and Users (the ‘Three-Legged Stool’) all have different roles to play in the delivery of infrastructure – and this may change based on the nature of the asset being delivered 
  4. Demand analysis is complex and extremely difficult to predict. Government policy, technology, or public sentiment all impact long-term demand for infrastructure. Accurately predicting demand is central to long term economic planning and success 
Vive la révolution: Is this the end of the Central Business District? | Matty Lawrence - Founder, Happy Spaces

Vive la révolution: Is this the end of the Central Business District? | Matty Lawrence - Founder, Happy Spaces

September 23, 2020

Following his excellent article “RIP CBD. We’re coming home” (https://medium.com/@mattylawrence/rip-cbd-were-coming-home-2afe40f0c9ca), we discussed with Matty the future of the post-Covid CBD and the development of local business hubs:

Key takeaways:

  1. It is important to distinguish between the CBD and the City. CBDs will change but not necessarily at the expense of the City
  2. The need for central office space remains (for some the office is a crucial working environment) but the purpose of the office is likely to change – with an increased focus on social interaction, meetings and collaboration
  3. Space requirements are likely to decrease, placing pressure on landlords. Agents, tenants and landlords need to work together to develop flexible lease structures
  4. We are likely to see a significant growth of local business hubs, providing formal but flexible working facilities close to home
  5. There are significant opportunities for both the employer and employee. Employers can reduce accommodation costs and improve productivity and retention rates.  Employees can take a hold of their lifestyle, be empowered to deliver their work effectively and interact more closely with their local community
What makes an Airport City? | Max Hirsh, CEO - Airport Urbanism

What makes an Airport City? | Max Hirsh, CEO - Airport Urbanism

September 17, 2020

What makes an Airport City? | Max Hirsh, Managing Director of the Airport City Academy

Max is an authority on the development of Airport Cities.  He is MD of the Airport City Academy, has a PhD from Harvard in Architecture & Planning and is a Research Fellow at the University of Hong Kong. He is also the developer of Airport Urbanism: a customer-focused approach to developing airport real estate and planning the airport area

In this fascinating discussion Max provided a step by step guide to Airport Cities and explained why they are so important to an industry trying to recover from Covid and protect itself from future black swan events.

Key takeaways:

  • Airport Cities take many shapes. Although Schiphol, Helsinki and Singapore are all ‘Airport Cities’, they all look and feel different in nature
  • Airport City investment is key for ongoing revenue diversification. Real estate provides new ‘non-passenger’ revenue streams which cushion asset owners and investors against the other unavoidable risks of the aviation industry
  • A successful Airport City works in zones. The Core, catering for leisure or business travel, is accessible by foot.  The wider area, including cargo, logistics and manufacturing, remains within the proximity of the airport and is accessible via a short taxi ride or public transport
  • Multiple factors are required for an Airport City to be successful, but these can be summarised into: People, Place, Partnership and Position
GCC Construction & Projects Market Update | Colin Foreman, Deputy Editor, Meed.com

GCC Construction & Projects Market Update | Colin Foreman, Deputy Editor, Meed.com

August 25, 2020

INFRACAST | GCC Construction & Projects Market Update | Colin Foreman, Deputy Editor, Meed.com

In today’s show we were joined by Colin Forman from MEED – the go-to news agency for all project and construction news within the Middle East.  Colin has been writing about the GCC for over 17 years and is an authority on the subject.  To begin, Colin took us through how the GCC market has performed has a whole during Covid and then provided detailed analysis of each of the individuals states.

Key takeaways:

  • Broadly, the construction and project market has continued during lockdown, with some delays due to site access and supply chain management
  • Although existing projects continue, the number of awards during lockdown has significantly reduced – leading to potential issues into 2021 and beyond
  • Major PIF backed projects in KSA are continuing, with ex-pats increasingly being allowed to deliver work remotely
  • The delay to Expo 2020 in Dubai could potentially help the economy restart in 2021
  • ADNOC remains the driving force for projects in Abu Dhabi, although it is driving price reductions across its projects
  • The outlook in the remaining GCC states remains challenging

Looking forward, we also discussed the potential for governments to look again at PPP models and whether an Olympic bid could be the catalyst the market needs.

How is the hotel and hospitality industry fighting back against Covid?

How is the hotel and hospitality industry fighting back against Covid?

August 17, 2020

The hotel and hospitality industry has been decimated in 2020 but, thankfully, we are beginning to see some green shoots of recovery.  David Singleton, Partner at Socius Group, sat down with us to provide practical examples of how leading hotel operators are encouraging guests back into their establishments.

Key findings:

  • The industry is crucial to the global long-term economic recovery
  • Due to their economic importance, hotels can be treated as a standalone infrastructure asset class
  • The relationship between the asset owner and operating brand will be influence by multiple factors, but the strength of this relationship is key to long-term success
  • Hotels cannot rely on room sales alone, and increasingly must become destinations in themselves
  • Air B&B has impacted the industry, but there is room for a diverse range of offerings

Those hotels who are recovering from Covid are doing so by focusing on customer service and providing the best possible experience - this is very simple to say, but very difficult to achieve.

 

Should I leave the Big 4 and set up on my own?

Should I leave the Big 4 and set up on my own?

August 10, 2020

Many of us have thought about leaving the big 4 and taking the plunge on our own.  We dream of a life without timesheets, admin or utilisation targets!

However, is this reality?  We sat down with Jon Davies, (http://www.jondaviesaccountants.co.uk/) formally of EY and BDO, to see what life was really like on the other side of the fence.  We discussed a range of topics but focussed specifically on how transferable his Big 4 skills were and, probably more importantly, what skills he didn’t have - and how he went about getting them.

How valuable is an Airport Slot?

How valuable is an Airport Slot?

July 27, 2020

In this episode we are taking an in-depth look at the world of Airport Slot Management.

 

As soon as you scratch the surface of this topic you quickly understand how crucial (and valuable) Airport Slots are. 

 

This is an extremely complex process but thankfully we had Chris Bosworth, the former Managing Director of Airport Coordination Limited – the world's largest airport slot coordinator - to guide us through.  Graham Lake and Peter Lynam from Five Aero also joined us to provide additional context and explain how the whole process links into the overall passenger journey.

 

Greener Aviation: Balancing Regulation with Incentives?

Greener Aviation: Balancing Regulation with Incentives?

July 15, 2020

We are back with Graham Lake and Peter Lynam from Five Aero to discuss the impact of aviation on the environment.

This is a contentious issue so we spent time looking at why aviation is perceived to have such a negative environmental record, the progress the industry has made over the past decades and some simple steps which could make aviation greener.

Not forgetting Covid, we also discussed how governments are attaching a range of environmental conditions to the billions of bail-out funding they are providing to the industry.

 

Why does the aviation industry need to market itself today more than ever before?

Why does the aviation industry need to market itself today more than ever before?

July 13, 2020

In this episode we are very lucky to be joined by Matt Horobin from Abu Dhabi Airports Company to discuss the import role of branding and marketing within the aviation industry.  We covered a wide range of topics within our 30 minute discussion including how marketing is used to connect with the customer, how airports themselves are now viewed as a destination and how operators are reacting to the increasing demand for a personalised experience.

How to find your next job in infrastructure

How to find your next job in infrastructure

July 5, 2020

On this episode we interview Mark Daniel from Real Life Career Advice (https://reallifecareeradvice.com/) on how you can get your next job within infrastructure.

Mark’s practical advice is invaluable.  We discuss the skills required to find a job, where to look, how to use LinkedIn, the difference between a CV and a Cover Letter and how to work with recruiters.  We also go deeper into managing the frustration of the job search process, how to maintain momentum and how you can keep on track until you find your next position.

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