VIEW FROM THE TOP
Director General, Stefano Baronci, reflects on the importance of air travel and some key priorities and initiatives planned by ACI Asia-Pacific for the remainder of 2021.
After 20 months of virtual calls, I finally got to meet the director generals of ACI’s other regions in person again this summer after flying to Rome for a meeting. It was great to fly again and even better to see everyone for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Since the meeting was held in Rome, I also took the opportunity to visit my family in Italy. Like so many of you, I haven’t seen my loved ones since COVID turned our world upside down in early 2020.
The whole experience, despite being so common for frequent travellers like us, reminded me of how essential travelling and meeting people in person is to open minds and exchange knowledge.
The trip was also an opportunity to experience a special health protocol – the so-called ‘COVID-tested’ flight from Dubai to Rome – where I didn’t have to quarantine in the country of destination. I am proud to say that our association facilitated the implementation of this protocol through engagement, among others, with Dubai Airports and Aeroporti di Roma.
However, the way back was not without complications. The trip was fraught with new and changing regulations and ended with a hotel quarantine stay, a pandemic-prevention measure applied by more than 75% of the airports recently surveyed in our region.
SEPTEMBER SECURITY MONTH
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we want to highlight one of the top priorities in airport operations: security. Over the past decades, the landscape of aviation security has constantly changed with new security threats emerging and new, additional security measures being introduced. Indeed, the COVID-19 health crisis has brought new security challenges to the industry.
To raise awareness of the role and importance of airport security among the broader airport community and travelling public, ACI Asia-Pacific is launching September Security Month. Throughout the month, we will feature insights from ICAO, airport members and World Business Partners outlining different security topics, challenges and solutions. Ultimately, we want to stress the message that security is everybody’s responsibility.
This effort coincides with ICAO’s Year of Security Culture. To support this campaign, and to fill the gap of a lack of practical guidance materials on airport security culture, our Regional Aviation Security Committee developed a guidance document to help airports better understand what security culture is, and to provide practical guidance on how to promote and assess the security culture both within the airport organisation and with external stakeholders. The guide is available on our website. We hope you find it useful.
DISABLED AIRCRAFT and GLOBAL REPORTING FORMAT
In an initiative from the Regional Operational Safety Committee (ROSC), guidelines on how to remove disabled aircraft from the apron movement area are now available on our website for members.
The document has a simple set of guidelines for airport operators to quickly establish a plan for removing the disabled aircraft from the movement area and managing the process in a timely, safe and efficient manner.
The ROSC felt this was an important topic to address as a majority of airports in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East operate single runway facilities. In the event of a disabled aircraft stranded on the runway, prompt removal is critical for resumption of operations.
Anticipating the swiftly-nearing November 4, 2021, deadline for the implementation of the new Global Reporting Format (GRF) for Runway Surface Conditions, the ROSC has also produced a Quick Start Guide to help airports understand and implement the GRF. Members can once again download the guide from our website.
LONG-TERM CARBON GOAL
You will recall that in June, ACI announced a long-term net zero carbon goal for the airport sector and, by and large, the announcement was positively received throughout the region. In fact, from the Pacific Islands stretching across Asia and into the Middle East, airports of all sizes are having to adapt to and manage the effects of climate change.
The diverse geographic locations of airports across our region mean that they face many different challenges, incorporating everything from the effects of extreme temperatures to rising sea levels. Add on the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and you don’t need me to tell you that airports’ business operations are often disrupted and adversely impacted by events out of their control.
On the heels of the announcement, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its first major review of the science of climate change since its landmark report in 2013. It is now almost certain many places in the world, including those in our region, will be underwater before 2050. For our region, which also faces the highest expected traffic growth, this means that we will need to go the extra mile to achieve the net zero emission target before 2050.
It cannot be understated that actions will need to be undertaken through close collaboration and partnerships with governments and industry, the development of appropriate sustainable business cases and on top of that, ultimately remove carbon with negative emissions technologies.
As a trade association, we will focus on what we do best, encourage best practices sharing. One such initiative is the trialling of an Airport Carbon Accreditation mentorship, where a mentor airport shares its experience in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and mentors a candidate airport to reach the desired level in the programme.
YOUNG EXECUTIVE AWARD
With sustainability in mind, we have decided to make ‘Adapting Airports to a Changing Climate in the Region’ the topic for our Young Executive Award for 2022.
The Young Executive Award is, of course, designed to encourage young talent in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East to contribute innovative solutions to current aviation industry issues.
While no one airport is left unaffected by climate change, some will be hit harder than others. As the CEO of Tahiti Airports, our Regional Board Director, Jean-Michel Ratron, knows only too well the daunting challenges faced by his airport and other island airports when it comes to climate change. With this vested interest in discovering practical solutions to tackle climate change, I am delighted that he accepted our invitation to chair this year’s panel of judges.
We encourage you to consider participating in this meaningful annual research paper competition.
From the earlier-mentioned survey on obstacles and remedies towards recovery, it is clear that our region will continue to face obstacles. By and large, 77% of states still have bans against foreign nationals in place and less than 25% of states are removing or reducing quarantine requirements.
It therefore remains imperative to maintain in close dialogue with states to support the sector’s recovery.