THE OPENING CHAPTER
Max Moore-Wilton looks back with fond memories at the first 10 years of ACI Asia-Pacific region.
When Max Moore-Wilton speaks people generally listen because in terms of his career in business and politics – he was Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in his native Australia – he is a true heavyweight.
So when Moore-Wilton called the merger of ACI’s former Asia and Pacific regions one of the most significant developments at ACI since its creation in 1991, people stood up and took notice.
Ten years on, does Moore-Wilton, who has served as both the chairman of ACI World and first president of ACI Asia-Pacific, feel the same way?
“Absolutely, because it was a recognition of the new world in terms of where aviation was heading,” he says.
“When we [Australia] were in ACI Pacific, it was essentially the developed Pacific Rim, dominated by the US, Japan and to some extent Oceania. But the growth was clearly coming from outside of this area, so it was very important to move the focus more into growing Asia.
“Asia was just starting to blossom and economies across the continent were beginning to grow, so it was the right time to do it and we did it, and the region has gone from strength to strength.”
He notes that the new region is now the biggest and fastest growing in the world, records the highest earnings and has the best airports on the planet.
Moore-Wilton believes the Pacific region’s decision to move its HQ to Hong Kong from Vancouver was a masterstroke and praises David Pang, the CEO of Hong Kong International Airport at the time for his support, and the work of Sharjah’s Ghanem Al-Hajri and Dubai’s Mohammed Ahli in getting the Middle East’s airports onboard.
“The last ten years have seen the greatest period of change ever for airports and the pace of the technological changes are increasing,” states Moore-Wilton.
What could the ACI Asia-Pacific region have done better? “I think we’ve done pretty well and I’m not critical at all of how we’ve done things,” he says, describing the last decade as one of “prudently managed development and growth”.
“We are much more active in training, more active in helping the small airports in the region and we are very much more active on safety,” expands Moore-Wilton.
“I think it’s been a learn as you go exercise and the trick is not to get too far ahead of yourself, do everything on a sound commercial basis and always make sure you have enough funds to pay your way. Which we have done by the way, so I would say that the organisation has been very responsible and supported the world and the region to the best of its abilities.”