THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
The region’s first ten years have set a strong foundation for the future, writes ACI Asia-Pacific president, Dennis Chant.
At this year’s annual Regional Assembly, Conference and Exhibition at the Dead Sea, Jordan, the ACI Asia-Pacific region celebrated the 10th anniversary of the amalgamation of ACI’s former Asia and Pacific regions.
It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the last decade and to recognise the leaders of the respective regions who had the foresight and drive to make this union successful.
As a member of the Pacific Regional Board at that time, I remember being somewhat overawed at the scale of the task we were undertaking. The diversity of landscapes and cultures embraced by this vast region, for example, presented significant logistical and governance challenges.
To the credit of the executive board members, secretariats and advisers to the two regions they were up to the task. Their legacy is the establishment of ACI’s largest region with 99 members operating 573 airports in 47 countries.
Three strategic pillars
This legacy is also the foundation on which ACI Asia-Pacific has based three strategic pillars to ensure its relevance to its members and the communities they serve over the decade to come.
These pillars are:
Pillar 1 – Representing airport interests
Pillar 2 – Promoting airport excellence
Pillar 3 – Building capacity in ACI Asia-Pacific
ACI’s Asia-Pacific region is leveraging off the strong relationships built up by ACI World with other key members of the aviation community.
The co-operative relationships established with other international aviation organisations such as ICAO, IATA and
CANSO ensure the industry is able to collaborate effectively in furthering the interests of the providers and users of aviation services worldwide.
The Regional Office is strengthening relationships with national airports associations and other regional aviation groupings such as the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, Arab Air Carriers Organisation and ICAO regional offices.
Strong regional economic growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region has resulted in an unprecedented demand for
air transport services. This growth, together with ongoing security and elements of political uncertainty, represents constant challenges to the industry.
Through strengthened representation, the airport sector – both regionally and internationally – is now more influential in the promotion of the key objectives of the aviation industry. Priority objectives relate to safety, security, environment and economics.
Through our second Pillar, ‘Promoting airport excellence’, ACI Asia-Pacific acknowledges that, as access to air travel increases, our airport users will expect increasing levels of service.
Airports are now the primary gateways to most countries or cities and all stakeholders see them as the first and last impression a visitor has of a destination.
ACI World has developed the primary international measurement of airport service quality, the ASQ programme. ACI Asia-Pacific members have wholeheartedly adopted this programme of regular quarterly surveys of key airport service measures.
Indeed, almost since its inception, key Asia-Pacific airports have become the benchmarks to which airports across the globe aspire to reach.
As with increasing service standards, passengers expect airports to excel in the more fundamental attributes of safety and security. Whilst these factors are enshrined
in the minds of aviation service providers there is an expectation of constant improvement in the levels to which these factors are developed. ACI’s APEX in Safety programme and other initiatives with industry partners such as IATA are key to ensuring the current and next generation of aviation professionals are well equipped to meet the needs of a safe and secure aviation industry.
Fundamental to ensuring continuous improvements in safety, security and service quality is the access to adequate funding. Irrespective of the ownership model, it is very difficult for many airports, particularly the smaller and more remote ones, to generate the surplus funds necessary to invest in the pursuit of excellence.
ACI and its members have recognised the financial challenges faced by airports and have developed initiatives to improve the economics of airports. Indeed, ACI Asia-Pacific has followed in the footsteps of ACI World and established an ACI Asia-Pacific Economics Committee.
Last but not least, ACI and airport operators are aware of the growing demand on organisations of all sectors to address concerns about the quality of the environment. Whilst economically advanced regions such as Europe have long progressed initiatives to protect and improve the physical environment, less developed and newly industrialised countries face greater challenges in this regard.
Increasing economic property within the Asia-Pacific Region has brought with it a growing expectation that the quality of this environment must improve. ACI Asia-Pacific has joined with ACI Europe to introduce the latter’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme to Asia-Pacific members. The take-up of this programme has exceeded expectations.
The third pillar, Building Capacity in ACI Asia-Pacific, underpins delivery of the goals identified in the first two strategic pillars.
The future wellbeing of our industry and our communities is very dependent on the skills and knowledge of a new generation of airport professionals.
ACI, together with numerous partners in the aviation and education sectors, has and continues to develop a comprehensive suite of training programmes. They now cover from entry level to post-graduate level.
It is pleasing to note that ACI Asia-Pacific region members have accounted for about half of all the courses and the same proportion of participants for all of the courses sponsored by ACI over the last year.
The establishment of the airport industry as a discrete sector of the aviation industry has been most evident over the last two decades.
The first decade saw its establishment as a partner of influence in the aviation industry. The second decade has seen it mature and grow in confidence as it builds on the foundations laid by our predecessors. I am confident that airports are well equipped to accommodate the anticipated growth in numbers and stakeholder expectations of improved outcomes in quality of service, safety, security, environment and economic well-being over the next decade.