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Regional director, Patti Chau, reflects on her decision to leave her post at the end of the year, ACI Asia-Pacific’s important advocacy role and looks forward to some future events.

As most of you will know by now, I have announced my decision to step down as regional director of ACI Asia-Pacific at the end of the year to return to Vancouver where my focus can be more on my young family.

It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but after 15 years with ACI Asia-Pacific and living in Hong Kong, I believe the time is right for me to return home and start a new chapter.

It has been an absolute honour to work for and be associated with ACI, the voice of the world’s airports, since 2004. I have enjoyed the experience immensely, learnt a lot and forged many lasting friendships on my journey.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board for their guidance and unfailing support and engaged leadership over the years. This has proved instrumental in helping make ACI Asia-Pacific the strong and effective organisation it is today.

The global search for my successor is now well under way and we will bring you news of any developments in due course. I wish every success to whoever takes on the role and, am confident, that they will inherit a dedicated team and a strong organisation well positioned to play a crucial role in helping shape the future of aviation in Asia-Pacific, as the global market and demand continues to shift eastward.

Representing members’ interests

It has, of course, been business as usual for the Regional Office over the last few months as representing the interests of our members remains our top priority.

We continue to advance and support our members on economic policy matters, in particular, our members in India, Malaysia and Australia. While ACI does not advocate a particular ownership model, we do advocate that governments make decisions based on facts and, prior to any privatisation, they should ensure that a clear and consistent legal and regulatory framework exists.

Our commitment to sustainability remains strong.  Airports worldwide have been leading climate action with annual reductions announced every year. Asia-Pacific’s airports have already started delivering with 54 airports in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, six of which are in Level 3+.

Despite the different pace of economic development in our region, discussions are in progress at our Board on members’ necessary efforts for advancing towards carbon neutrality.

Capacity building for our members in need is high on our agenda in our diverse region. By the end of July 2019, it is anticipated that seven and two APEX in Safety and Security reviews respectively will have been completed at Asia-Pacific and Middle East airports. These reviews help ACI Asia-Pacific better understand the safety and security issues in the region, as well as shape meeting agendas on safety and security.

ACI has also enjoyed success in the global arena recently, reaching an agreement with IATA and Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group to reform the governance structure of the Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG). The new governance structure is designed to ensure an agile and robust process for maintaining and continuously improving the WSG, which will be renamed the Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG).   

As a result, for the first time since the establishment of the WSG in 1974, airport operators are acknowledged to be equal partners along with airlines and slot co-ordinators in the determination of slot allocation policies at global level.

Today, more than 200 airports worldwide require slot co-ordination because they have insufficient capacity to meet demands at all times of the day, of which around 66 (or 32%) of these reside in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Co-ordination based on global standards helps to maximise utilisation of existing capacity, avoid delays and improves the passenger experience.

The new agreement was signed at a meeting in Seoul and all parties agreed that new governance and increased collaboration provides an opportunity to further modernise slot allocation mechanisms to the benefit of the travelling public and the aviation community at large.

Combatting the threat of drones

Drone-related airport disruptions have become a growing threat for airports worldwide and all industry players have a key role to play in keeping airspace and airports safe when it comes to drones.  Collaboration amongst all parties is required. As such, ACI is calling for the global development of harmonised regulations and standards on the matter.

ACI’s stance on drones is essentially two-fold. Firstly, we believe that the main bodies for enforcement activities and initiating anti-drone measures are the relevant national authority and local law enforcement agencies. Secondly, we believe that it is incumbent on all industry stakeholders to protect themselves and to work in co-ordination with each other.

Following the well-publicised drone incident at London Gatwick Airport at the end of 2018, ACI published an advisory bulletin in January. The advisory encourages airports to initiate dialogue with their national authorities and local law enforcement agencies on a risk-based approach to drones and to draw up a Concept of Operations and Standard Operating Procedures for anti-drone measures at airports in advance.

We are able to offer assistance to any members who might need further advice on airport preparedness for potential disruptions caused by drones, so please do reach out to our staff for assistance if you think we can be of help.

Upcoming events

At the regional level, one of our key working plans is to prepare for the 56th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Region, which will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in August.

We will attend this important ICAO meeting and will also submit papers to reiterate ACI’s position on various key issues including capacity building, APEX in Environment, climate change and ACI initiatives in supporting persons with disabilities.

Finally, as we march into the second half of 2019, we are excited to bring a number of networking opportunities to your attention.

First up is the 2nd ACI Customer Experience Global Summit, hosted by PT Angkasa Pura I (Persero) in Bali, Indonesia, on September 2-5.

Then, in October, The Trinity Forum will be coming to Qatar, for the first time.

And before we conclude the year, we’ll be in Abu Dhabi for Airport Exchange in November.

Please mark your calendar for any or all of these exciting events and the networking opportunities that they present, and I look forward to seeing you there!


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