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Regional director, Patti Chau, reflects on the important advocacy role of ACI and looks ahead to another busy and exciting year for the Asia-Pacific region.

The year started early for ACI with the first big industry event of 2019, the inaugural Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai – organised by India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in conjunction with ACI, IATA and CANSO – held in mid-January.

The key context for discussion at the event was that the global demand for air services continues to grow rapidly.

According to ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2018-2040, India is expected to be the second fastest growing country with more than 50 million passengers per annum from 2017-2040 with 6.8% growth.

ACI believes that the Indian government’s move to pursue further private investment in airport development will better enable the country to respond to the growing demand for air services.

Speaking at the event, ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, said: “In order for India to cope with surging demand in air transport, a clear plan for building critical aviation infrastructure is required. With that in mind, it is good to see that the Indian government has moved to undertake a second phase of privatisation.

“Existing airport infrastructure in the country, and in many mature markets worldwide, will not be able to handle the expected growth, so substantial investment is required, soon, to allow the aviation industry to meet growing demand.

“ACI’s evidence-based Policy Brief on creating fertile grounds for private investment, confirms that airport privatisation has proven to be an important generator of value for the passenger in terms of providing for new and improved infrastructure.”

Indeed, private investment in airports around the world has been crucial in improving the customer experience, and airports are placing a greater emphasis on this in business planning.

India’s development of a clear plan for attracting private capital to build aviation infrastructure and its investments to improve the passenger experience are actions that will improve the competitiveness of the Indian transportation system at the global level.

The Mumbai event also gave ACI the opportunity to hold a series of productive meetings with MoCA, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India, and airport members to discuss topics such as Airport Service Quality (ASQ) and privatisation.

Working with the International Civil Aviation Organization

One of the missions of ACI is to promote the collective interests of the world’s airports and the communities they serve, and to promote professional excellence in airport operations and management. As a result, ACI is actively involved in ICAO meetings to ensure that the interests of airports are represented and taken into account.

In December, I had the privilege of speaking at the Second ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Global Summit, which was held in Shenzhen, China.

The subject matter is something that is close to ACI’s heart as the international aviation community is aware that the industry faces an anticipated shortage of skilled professionals in the near future.

In order to address this important issue, ICAO launched the NGAP initiative to ensure that there are enough qualified and competent aviation professionals available in the future to operate, manage and maintain the international air transport system.

In essence, the summits aims to unite the aviation community, education and labour sectors to address strategies and actions for engaging, educating and retaining the next generation of aviation professionals, and to establish partnerships for the implementation of these actions.

I took the opportunity to share ACI’s views on the challenges the potential future skills shortage poses to airports and highlighted the need for greater employer branding to attract young professionals and more women to the aviation industry.

APEX in Safety

In pursuit of promoting best practices in safety, security and the environment, ACI has a suite of Airport Excellence (APEX) programmes.

Launched in 2012, the APEX in Safety programme brings together the airport community to provide assistance and advice to airports, and has drawn strong interest from the membership and international organisations, including ICAO, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the European Commission and the World Bank.

We are extremely proud to announce that ACI recently delivered the 100th Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety Review in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The programme promotes best safety practices in airport operations, utilising the expertise and co-operation of the airport community.

As a result, Abu Dhabi International Airport became the 100th airport to receive an international delegation of safety experts, generously made available by the programme’s ‘safety partners’, who conducted a full review with the airport.

The 100 safety reviews were conducted with participation from 323 safety assessors from 94 Safety Partner airports around the world.

I know I can count on your continued support, not only on APEX in Safety, but also APEX in Security and APEX in Environment.

DNA seminars

ACI’s Developing Nations Assistance (DNA) Assistance Programme with its objective of supporting member airports in developing countries, also continues to have an impact on the region.

Indeed, last year saw the successful delivery of five DNA seminars in Asia-Pacific, the most recent of which was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in co-operation with Cambodia Airports.

Looking forward, we will further raise the bar by scheduling six DNA seminars in 2019 on a variety of topics, the first of which will be on ‘Management of Aviation Security’ and take place in Hong Kong alongside the ACI Asia-Pacific/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition.

I wish everyone a very prosperous year ahead and I look forward to your continued support in 2019 so that together, we can become stronger as the voice of the Asia-Pacific airports community.

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