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Senior manager for external relations, Vivian Fung, reports on the latest ACI news, views and developments from the busy Asia-Pacific region and across the world.

New additions to ACI Asia-Pacific Board

Some familiar faces to ACI Asia-Pacific members will play an even greater role in the development of airports across the region over the next three years after being elected to the Regional Board at the 14th ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly in Hong Kong.

The new additions are Mohamed Yousif Al-Binfalah, CEO of Bahrain Airport Company; Futoshi Osada, senior executive vice president of Narita International Airport Corporation; and Ming-Teh Wang, president and CEO of Taoyuan International Airport Corporation.

Commenting on their election, regional director, Patti Chau, noted: “I wish to congratulate all elected members of the Board. Together with our president, we look forward to working closely together to strengthen ACI Asia-Pacific’s role in representing our members in the region and advocating members’ interests.”

The Regional Board determines the overall development strategy of the region and is made up of 25 aviation business leaders from across Asia-Pacific.

Welcome to two new members

The fast growing ACI Asia-Pacific region is excited to welcome another two airport members to the ACI family – Palmerston North Airport in New Zealand and Fukuoka International Airport in Japan.

Palmerston North, operated by Palmerston North Airport Limited, handled 657,515 passengers in 2018 and has the ambition to become “New Zealand’s leading regional airport”.

By contrast a total of 23.9 million passengers passed through Fukuoka International Airport in 2017, whose vision is to become “one of the best international airports in East Asia” based on its extensive airline route network across both East and Southeast Asia.

As of June 2019, ACI Asia-Pacific represents 112 airport members, operating 599 airports in 49 countries and territories.


Aerodrome workshop

The Republic of Palau, an archipelago of over 340 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, hosted an Aerodrome Workshop in Koror in May 2019 and ACI was in attendance to discuss capacity building initiatives and a host of other issues.

The annual workshop is organised by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and this year’s theme was ‘Transforming Pacific Island Nation Aviation Industry through Innovative Learning and Excellence’.

ACI was represented at the event by ACI Asia-Pacific’s deputy regional director, Ada Tse, and ACI World’s ACI Global Training manager, Issa Castro, who attended the workshop and gave presentations on ACI Global Training, ACI’s Airport Excellence (APEX) Programme and the Regional Office’s Small Airports Assistance Programme.

Regional traffic trends

The latest provisional traffic figures from ACI show that the region enjoyed mixed fortunes in April with passenger numbers declining by 1% in Asia-Pacific while the Middle East recorded a 3.3% rise in throughput.

In Asia-Pacific, where year-to-date growth is still positive at 1.8%, the April dip in fortunes was primarily down to a 3.9% dip in domestic passenger traffic.

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, notes: “Given the usual strength of the region’s air transport market, this represents a major shift. The slowdown has been particularly pronounced since the start of the year and has affected most major markets in the region.

“China’s domestic market has remained relatively resilient to this trend until now. The country’s economy has slowed down, and indications are that this regional trend may continue throughout the year.”

April’s upturn in passenger traffic in the Middle East represented a strong bounce back from a negative March – when it was the only region to report a decline in numbers (-0.3%) – and means that it has registered a 1.2% increase in passengers during the first four months of 2019.

In comparison, Europe (+4.8%), North America (+3.5%), Africa (+8%) and Latin America-Caribbean (+6%) all reported healthy passenger growth in April to ensure that year-to-date growth of between 3.9% (North America) and 7.4% (Africa).

ACI notes that Africa has benefited from “several tailwinds”, such as the recovery of tourism in North Africa, rising oil prices and the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market.

These factors, points out ACI World, have allowed passenger traffic across the region, once “subject to significant volatility”, to grow by at least 6% per month since October 2018.


Regional director to depart at the end of the year

A global search is on to find a successor to ACI Asia-Pacific regional director, Patti Chau, who has announced her intention to stand down from the role at the end.

“After working in ACI Asia-Pacific as well as living in Hong Kong for the last 15 years, I feel that the time is right to return to my home town of Vancouver and focus on my young family in Canada,” explains Chau.

“It is an honour to have been associated with ACI for the last 15 years. The experience has been both fruitful and rewarding, while forging lasting friendships along the way.

“I also feel that I am leaving on a high with strong foundations built in the last decade, putting ACI Asia-Pacific in a solid position to take advantage of the future growth as the aviation gravitation centre continues to shift eastward.

“I wish to thank the Board for the guidance and unfailing support. The engaged leadership has made ACI Asia-Pacific strong and effective.”

ACI Asia-Pacific president, Seow Hiang Lee, notes: “On behalf of the Board, I wish to thank Patti for her contributions to ACI Asia-Pacific over the past 15 years. She has been with ACI Asia-Pacific from the very beginning, moving to Hong Kong in 2004 [when the Pacific Office relocated there] and worked wholeheartedly for the successful merger of ACI’s former Asia and Pacific regions before being appointed regional director of ACI Asia-Pacific in November 2011.

“Despite the great diversity in our region, under Patti’s leadership, ACI Asia-Pacific has developed solid relations with international organisations across the aviation industry, with senior levels of national governments and with the various ACI regions.

“These partnerships have been effective in defending the interests of airports and promoting professional excellence in airport management and operations.”

Chau will continue in her role through the end of 2019 to ensure a seamless transition process with the new regional director.

Advocacy efforts remains top priority

As you would expect, the advocacy efforts of ACI Asia-Pacific never stop and the last few months have been particularly busy with staff representing the interests of the region’s airports at a host of key aviation events.

These have included regional director, Patti Chau, joining a panel discussion on the challenges of developing a smart aviation system at the 2019 China Civil Aviation Development Forum in Beijing.

Fellow panellists at the May event hosted by the Civil Aviation Administration of China included government representatives, airports, airlines and ICT providers and manufacturers.

The primary focus of the forum was on developing intelligent aviation against the backdrop of rapidly rising passenger demand.

Deputy regional director, Ada Tse, was also in China in May, delivering an opening address at the 4th China Airport Services Conference, organised by the China Civil Airports Association.

Attendees at the event included officials from China Civil Aviation Administration and State Administration for Market Regulation.

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