ACI Media Press Release Archives (2005)
|Geneva - "Airports are the front-line service providers for passengers when they begin their travel and arrive at destination. Now that growth in our industry is back in a big way, we must ensure that our capacity is sufficient to avoid congestion and provide quality service to customers in the coming years" said ACI Director General Robert J. Aaronson, addressing airport representatives in Geneva.|
Worldwide airport operators responded in 2004 with the highest recorded annual level of capital expenditure - over USD 30 billion to build for the future. With passenger traffic at the world's airports increasing dramatically by 10% over the past 12 months and forecast to double by 2020, new terminal enhancements and airside capacity projects must accommodate this rapid growth.
Resiliency best describes the way airports have coped with four rocky years in the industry. Although aggregate airport profits declined over the last three years, airport operators successfully diversified non-aeronautical income streams to ride out downturns in passenger and freight traffic. Worldwide, airports continued to work with airlines to increase efficiency and reduce unit costs, supporting their airline partners in emergency situations, as seen during the SARS outbreak, by offering fee reductions and exceptional measures to assist the ailing industry.
"During this period, airlines encountered severe financial problems and some are still struggling to cut their losses. Not all have suffered to the same degree. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), their members lost USD 4.8 billion in 2004. Since U.S. carriers alone lost USD 10 billion, many airlines are making money, and that is good news. Airports need financially sound airlines as full partners in meeting the growing demand", said Aaronson.
Airports comply with the cost-related charging methods that have been prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO confirms that airport charges declined from 4.5% in the late 1990's to a steady 4.0% of airline industry costs in the years 2001- 2003. Charges today are the same percentage of airline operating expenses as registered in 1978.
In today's competitive business climate, airlines are pressing for further reductions in airport charges. Aaronson replies, "With user charges representing only one twenty-fifth of airline expenses, and stable over time at that, no one can seriously pin the airlines’ troubles on airports. Airports are not "monopolies", as some in the aviation industry would have you believe. In many cases they compete against each other and against other transport modes to win and retain market share."
Aaronson concluded, “Constructive dialogue needs to replace airline industry rhetoric. Airlines and airports must work together to resolve industry issues. ACI and IATA have a history of joining forces to get positive results. We will hold an industry conference on “Quality Service at Airports” next week in Kuala Lumpur. That takes us to the real mission of better serving our passengers.”