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Regional director, Patti Chau, reflects on ACI Asia-Pacific’s advocacy efforts at ICAO conferences and meetings, the developing Central Asia region, latest traffic trends and upcoming events.

A key mission of ACI is to promote the collective interest of the world’s airports and the communities they serve and encourage professional excellence in airport operations and management, which we do on a regular basis at ICAO conferences and meetings.

As you will be able to read more about on page 10 of this issue, in August, together with ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, we attended ICAO’s 56th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Region (56th DGCA Conference) meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, where we represented the world’s airports, advocated on their behalf and updated ICAO member states on a number of ongoing ACI initiatives.

ACI submitted four Discussion Papers covering ACI’s efforts to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities; ACI’s contributions to  combatting against climate change; aerodrome certification with ACI’s APEX in Safety programme and updates on the Beijing Declaration; and the taxation of international air transport, submitted jointly with IATA. 

You will be able to learn more about all of these in the ACI news section of this issue.

Routes Silk Road

In July, I was invited to speak at the Routes Silk Road forum – the route development event that connects the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia – held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The forum was attended by officials and leaders from across the aviation sector and it was a great opportunity to share more information with delegates about ACI, our goals and ambitions and, of course, the many initiatives and services designed to help the growth and development of the region’s airports.

Establishing new relationships with airports in Central Asia, and building upon our existing ones, remains a key goal of ACI.

I took the opportunity to encourage our airline partners in Central Asia to actively engage with their industry counterparts to strengthen existing services and develop new international routes for the benefit of the travelling public and the aviation industry at large.

This is important as ACI’s long-term traffic forecasts predict that emerging and developing economies will account for more than 60% of all passenger traffic by 2040. And in particular, China, India and Central Asia have huge growth potential.

Safe and well

During my travels around the world this year I was often been asked about the political protests in Hong Kong and whether I was concerned at all about the situation, which at its height, led to several days of disruption at Hong Kong International Airport.

The honest answer is that there were a few difficult days, but thanks to our colleagues at Hong Kong International Airport, the disruption was soon over. Indeed, HKIA has introduced new access control measures to minimise the impact on the airport and has worked closely with the community to ensure the return of normal operations.

Our position is clear. ACI Asia-Pacific has expressed our strong condemnation on the recent disruption to operations at HKIA, an ACI member airport and one of the region’s key hubs, which have deprived passengers the right to travel.   

The aviation industry is a close-knit community and together we stand firm and united in bringing people together by offering a network of safe and secure airports for the travelling public. 

We want to point out that measures undertaken to ensure the safety and security of passengers and airport employees are subject to each local authority’s jurisdiction and ACI stands in solidarity with our colleagues at all affected airports.

Region’s airports among busiest in world

Asia-Pacific airports accounted for three of the top five gateways on the planet for passenger traffic in 2018 as well as three of the five fastest growing major airports, according to the latest traffic figures from ACI World.

ACI’s World Airport Traffic Report reveals that airports handled 8.8 billion passengers in 2018 (+6.4%) and that the top five airports for passenger traffic were Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL), Beijing Capital (PEK), Dubai International (DXB), Los Angeles (LAX) and Tokyo Haneda (HND).

While Bengaluru-Kempegowda (BLR) and Hyderabad-Rajiv Gandhi (HYD) in India and Jinan–Yaoqiang (TNA) in China were ranked among the top five fastest growing airports handling more than 15mppa based on annual increases of 29.1%, 21.9% and 16% respectively.

Twelve of the fastest-growing top 30 airports in the world in 2018 were located in either China or India. Indeed, India’s move towards a more liberalised aviation market and the nation’s strengthening economic fundamentals have helped it become one of the fastest-growing markets with its traffic increasing rapidly in a relatively short time.

Customer Experience Global Summit

The second annual Customer Experience Global Summit was held in balmy Bali, Indonesia, on September 2-5. Organised by ACI World, hosted by Angkasa Pura I (Persero) (API), and guided by the theme of ‘One airport community, many passenger journeys’, the event saw over 370 airports members, World Business Partners and guests from across the globe coming together to deliberate on our airport passengers’ customer experience.

The Summit also included a Gala Dinner, where the 2018 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award winners and newly accredited airports were celebrated among their peers.

Vietnam HOSTS WBP TOUR

Each year, the Regional Office endeavours to organise tours for World Business Partners (WBP) to airports with up and coming expansion and development plans, creating a platform where airport executives can meet WBPs in a more intimate setting. 

This year, the annual WBP Airport Tour, graciously hosted by Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), took place in Vietnam on September 17-19. A group of 12 participants representing 10 companies visited Tan Son Nhat (SGN), Cam Ranh (CXR), and Noi Bai (HAN) international airports.

During the tour, delegates also got to see and experience first-hand some of the newly expanded facilities in the respective terminals.

ACV also gave delegates a sneak peek into all three airports’ exciting expansion plans and master planning works in progress to cope with growth, which translate into collaboration opportunities down the road.

Final countdown

As we enter the last quarter of 2019, we are excited to present more great networking opportunities for you at two of ACI’s longest established and most popular events. 

First up is The Trinity Forum, one of our flagship events on airport commercial revenues, which will be held in Doha, Qatar, for the first time on October 30-31. 

Then an eventful year effectively comes to a close a month later when Abu Dhabi Airports hosts Airport Exchange on November 25-27. I hope you will join us at both of these important events!

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