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Asia-Pacific Airports editor, Joe Bates, reflects on some of the success stories of 2016 and the need for new infrastructure to meet future demand.

The end of one year and the start of another is always a good time to reflect on what has happened over the last 12 months and look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.

I believe the history books will show that 2016 was another good year for Asia-Pacific airports, which consistently grabbed the headlines for opening or unveiling plans for spectacular new facilities, traffic growth, retail/F&B innovation and customer service initiatives ranging from concerts in the terminal to the use of robots.

Asia-Pacific gateways also once again excelled in ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction awards, winning all the global Best by Size categories while Jaipur, Sanya Phoenix, Gimpo, Delhi-Indira Gandhi, Incheon and Singapore Changi each collected two or more awards.

And the region’s airports continue to be environmental pioneers. Indeed, in this issue, you will be able to read about Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport becoming India’s first carbon neutral airport; and Brisbane Airport issuing its first sustainability report. 

We also learned that Japan’s airports lead the world when it comes to punctuality based on OAG’s 2015 data. Osaka-Itami (93.5%) rated the ‘Best Small Airport’  and Tokyo-Haneda (91.25%) the ‘Best Large Airport’. We will learn shortly whether they held on to their crowns in 2016.

With the latest ACI traffic report showing that passenger numbers were up 10% across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East in the first nine months of the year, 2016 is set to be another record breaking year for the region.

Dubai International Airport will remain the world’s busiest international gateway after handling close to 83 million passengers in 2016.

Arguably the biggest challenge facing the region’s airports in 2017 and beyond is the need to fund, and then build, the facilities that will allow them to cope with the anticipated rise in demand over the next 20 years. 

The need to expand existing terminals, build new ones, add new runways and in some cases construct entirely new airports, certainly hasn’t been lost on the region’s airport operators with dozens of projects planned, underway or recently completed across the ACI Asia-Pacific region.

These vary from huge high-profile projects such as Abu Dhabi International Airport’s eagerly awaited new Midfield Terminal, the building of Beijing’s second international airport and Incheon’s planned new Terminal 2 to smaller but none-the-less important projects such as airfield enhancements, IT upgrades and the installation of more capable security and baggage handling systems.

You will be able to read about some of these exciting developments, including the latest IT trends, in the news and ‘design & build’ sections of this final issue of 2016.

 This issue also includes a special report on Singapore Changi and features about airport security; ASQ passenger personas; confectionery; the environment, baggage handling and retail/F&B news.

Will 2017 be as interesting and exciting as 2016 for Asia-Pacific’s airports? You bet it will!


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