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Former NAA president, Toru Nakamura, reflects on the creation of ACI’s Asia-Pacific region, the key role he played in it and on the possible challenges ahead.

I take this opportunity to offer my sincere congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the merger of the ACI Asia and Pacific regions, and to express my deepest respects to all of those who work so hard to make ACI’s activities so worthwhile.

I was honoured to serve as vice chair of the ACI World Governing Board and as president of the ACI Pacific Regional Board and as such devoted my efforts to airport development with ACI over an extended period of time.

Looking back at the time prior to the merger, the environment surrounding the aviation industry saw a pressing need to step up integration to another level with the continuing trends in globalisation. 

The importance of combining the Asia and Pacific regions to act as one large region became increasingly obvious and the Asia region, which sought to invigorate ACI activities, approached the Pacific region on the feasibility of merger. 

For the Pacific region, it was believed that a merger with the Asia region would allow it to provide more effective, efficient services to members and enable it to make a greater contribution to the growth of ACI as a whole.

Consequently, a consensus was formed to push ahead with the merger and I was assigned as the chairman of a task force, established in 2004, with the objective of combining the two regions. 

I met individual members face-to-face to co-ordinate the views of both regions in the face of their different regulations and customs, and worked to gain a consensus on a post-merger concept. 

Those members took an extremely co-operative approach to the merger and just two years after the initial concept of combining the two regions was raised, it became a reality. 

For these reasons I believe that the actual merger of the two regions into one unified and united region remains ACI Asia-Pacific’s greatest achievement to date.

With the expectation of the ongoing growth in demand for aviation, the newly created Asia–Pacific region was in a prime position to become ACI’s most influential region and a driving force of the organisation, and I think over the last 10 years it has gone a long way towards doing just that.

The market is very different today than ten years ago, particularly in my home country of Japan, but with the gradual recovery of the economy, I am confident that we will see growth in aviation going forward and indeed right across the Asia-Pacific region. For Japan, events like the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will see a concerted increase in demand. 

I think the biggest challenge and opportunities facing ACI Asia-Pacific and the region’s airports going into the next decade will be meeting the needs of the next generation of passenger.

Regional demand for aviation will increase significantly with rapid economic growth across Asia-Pacific. As it does, the quality of that demand will also undergo enormous changes. How we respond to that will, in my view, be the biggest challenge for ACI Asia-Pacific and the airports in the region.

Congratulations ACI Asia-Pacific

Airports in Asia and the Pacific regions play a major role in enhancing the inter-connectivity of people and goods and ACI is a vital platform for helping them realise their huge economic potential. 

In the past 10 years, much has been accomplished and total volumes of passengers and freight have increased by 176% and 64% respectively since the regions’ unification. 

The ACI platform facilitates information exchange and experience sharing among the regions, hence optimising airports’ mutual learning and growth. As a result the Asia and Pacific regions proudly house many of the world’s best airports for delivering outstanding customer services to passengers.

As a former president of ACI Pacific and one of the founders of the region, I believe the airports of Asia-Pacific will continue to grow and that ACI will continue to be the critical driving force, raising their stature and fuelling airport growth in the decade to come.”

Dr David Pang, former chairman of ACI Pacific

It is indeed a wonderful feeling to see that all the efforts made to bring this union have borne such excellent results. 

Looking back, unification wasn’t easy to achieve and it took a lot of hard work from members in Asia and the Pacific to get everyone to understand the great benefits of creating a single all encompassing ACI region. 

When I came up with the idea of unification between Asia and Pacific region I was very persistent, although it took me two years to convince the Pacific regional to accept the merger. The results of the last ten years speak for themselves about the benefits of unification.

My sincere congratulations to ACI Asia-Pacific, its members and many old friends on achieving this landmark. I am confident that this unified body will only reap more and more success in the years ahead. 

Dr Ghanem Al-Hajri, former chairman of ACI World

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