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APA1 2024 NEWS

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Director general, Stefano Baronci, reflects on the success of ACI Asia-Pacific and Middle East’s strategic plan to date and looks forward to this year’s annual Assembly, Conference & Exhibition in Riyadh.

After a year of significant progress in traffic recovery, the aviation industry is on the brink of growth and transformation in 2024. Yet, despite the optimism, challenges and opportunities persist due to various macro-economic factors.

The outlook for 2024 is bright, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, where a full recovery to pre-pandemic activity levels is expected. Similarly, the Middle East anticipates continued growth, with passenger numbers anticipated to exceed a record 450 million.

However, against the backdrop of these bright prospects, geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East cast a shadow over the industry’s trajectory.

The potential for prolonged conflicts poses a challenge, demanding a heightened level of adaptability from stakeholders across the board.

In light of these developments, I’m proud to share the successes of ACI APAC & MID’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2023.

Our achievements include strengthened relationships with other ACI regional offices, setting the first stones for future enhanced resource sharing with ACI World, and increased engagement with members and stakeholders. These achievements not only underscore our resilience but also pave the way for our next strategic leap.


Building on this momentum, we are excited to launch our new strategic plan for 2024-2026 that aims to increase advocacy for empowerment and transformation, strengthen external capacity building to equip the industry with the required technical knowledge, effective communication for brand awareness, and strengthen internal capabilities to continue to be efficient against the evolving industry landscape.

This plan is a direct response to the evolving industry landscape, ensuring we remain at the forefront of the sector’s transformation.

A cornerstone of this new strategic direction is our commitment to sustainability, marked by a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with ACI EUROPE to launch a new Net Zero Roadmap Programme in 2025 after a trial phase in 2024.

This collaboration is crucial to our efforts to assist airports in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions in developing comprehensive roadmaps to achieve net-zero emissions.

Both ACI APAC & MID and ACI EUROPE will collaboratively work within a strategic framework to achieve ambitious sustainability goals.

Endorsed by Airport Carbon Accreditation, a programme launched by ACI EUROPE, ACI APAC & MID will leverage the new initiative to facilitate airports to have their own sustainable roadmap.

We are determined to assist airports in the region in their journey towards net-zero emissions, paving the way for a sustainable aviation industry.


The first quarter of 2024 has already seen intensified engagement efforts with our members and regulators in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and Laos aimed at keeping them abreast of recovery trends, environmental practices, and best industry practices.

Our engagements with policymakers and national media alongside various industry forums emphasised the importance of improving connectivity and advocating for a balanced relationship between the industry and regulatory bodies.

In addition, I had the honour of speaking at various events across the region. In India, for example, at the Wings India 2024, I stressed the importance of enhancing international connectivity as well as placing a greater focus on sustainability.

At Routes Asia in Malaysia, I emphasised that aviation extends beyond mere transportation; it is critically linked to global politics and policymaking.

Indeed, the need for a harmonious relationship between the industry and regulatory bodies has never been more critical, especially in advocating for the sector’s liberalisation and enhancing air connectivity.

While at the APTRA India Conference, I continued to stress the need for even greater international air connectivity while tackling pressing challenges such as regulatory constraints, infrastructure limitations, supply side hurdles, high travel costs, and the macro-economic outlook.


We are proud to announce that Vietnamese airport operator, Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), is to host The Trinity Forum 2024 in Ho Chi Minh City on November 5-6, 2024.

This year’s event, organised by The Moodie Davitt Report, is being held in collaboration with ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East, ACI World and the Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPP Group).

As usual, it will provide a platform for industry leaders to discuss the latest trends in airport retail, share best practices, and explore new opportunities for growth.

I had the pleasure of visiting Ho Chi Minh City recently for the Signing Ceremony for the event and firmly believe that the involvement of the IPP Group this year shows the commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration within the global airport retail sector.

Indeed, the signing of the MoU reaffirms our mutual commitment to continue enhancing the value of the event for both the aviation industry and travel retail stakeholders.

While ACV’s active participation in ACI events and the presence of its deputy general director on ACI APAC & MID’s Regional Board certainly demonstrates ACV’s dedication to international aviation standards and best practices.

Ho Chi Minh City is a popular tourist destination and provides an ideal backdrop for the event that revolves around the overarching theme of improving passenger experience with retail offerings at airports.

We thank our hosts, Airports Corporation of Vietnam and IPP Group for their exceptional support and commitment to this event.


Looking ahead, our next global conference, ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East/ ACI World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition, also known as WAGA 2024, is scheduled to take place in Riyadh between May 21-23 and, as you would expect, promises to be a significant gathering.

It will be the first time we have held our annual Assembly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are, of course, no strangers to Riyadh or our kind hosts, Riyadh Airports Company, which operates King Khalid International Airport where our newly opened Middle East office is located.

I am excited to share that more than 50 influential personalities from aviation industry will be speaking on a wealth of topics at WAGA 2024. I look forward to seeing you in Riyadh.

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