ACI Media Press Release Archives (2007)
|ACI Asia Pacific Region Annual Conference, Director General ACI Robert J. Aaronson, 22 May 2007 - “A strategy for growth”|
It is a great pleasure for me to be with you at the Asia Pacific Region’s annual conference and to address the leaders of this diverse and fast-growing community of airports.
There are many signs of strong leadership in this vast and culturally diversified ACI region, where we see innumerable examples of innovative projects in terms of airport management, quality of service, revenue generation and capacity expansion. They highlight the bustling energy of the cities and countries you represent.
In March, several of you were with us at the ACI Airport Business and Trinity Conference in Dubai, where the emphasis was on commercial activities and non-aeronautical revenue enhancement. Many of your airports excel in that field, and I wouldn’t have enough time available today to list all the exciting offerings that are being put in place.
Attention to customer satisfaction is yet another valued management principle in this region. For the second year running, Asia Pacific airports took the top three positions in the worldwide category of the ACI Airport Service Quality awards (ASQ). This sends a pretty clear message: you are listening carefully to what customers like and what they expect from an airport experience. It also tells me you believe that quality service gives you a competitive edge in this dynamic, expanding market.
At the same time, airports are taking bold steps to ensure a healthy future. Many are working with governments to liberalise the airport business, welcoming new investors and taking advantage of new regulatory flexibility to free development of the airport sector from unnecessary constraints. There is no single magic formula for success, but many interesting possibilities are open to you, as shown by the rapidly growing diversity of business and ownership models that exist today.
But you and your airport colleagues around the world do have many challenges ahead, and some are daunting.
As you are well aware, ACI -- and most major aviation industry forecasters -- are predicting that in the next twenty years worldwide traffic will double. ACI Asia-Pacific airports will experience some of the highest international and domestic traffic growth rates worldwide. The cargo market is set to triple over the next 20 years, with Middle East and Asia Pacific leading the pack especially in the first 10 years. Asia, with fast growing economies such as China and India, is forecast to become the largest aviation market by 2025.
Several factors will stimulate this growth: strong economic development, increased purchasing power, expanded tourism offerings and high profile events. At the same time, airports will be responding to a wider choice of airfares, new routes and new services that require infrastructure investments for adequate capacity. Total aircraft movements are set to double to handle this 20-year growth, requiring new airport infrastructure and investments in en-route and terminal air traffic control systems.
This is quite an exciting prospect, but it raises issues that airports worldwide must solve -- achieving management and operational efficiencies and continuing with our commitment to the highest levels of service excellence.
I would like to highlight some of those challenges and how ACI is acting to defend your interests and advocate for changes that will benefit the industry as a whole.
• Capacity. Airports across AP are keenly aware of the need to provide adequate infrastructure, and a recent list compiled by Momberger Aviation Information of major new or recent expansion projects in AP exceeds 110 billion USD. Operating well over facility limits can have a serious impact on passenger comfort levels, and although not all airports need more capacity, many hubs will have to carefully analyse their long-term needs. It is encouraging to see that Cathay Pacific has not changed its plans to develop a third cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, despite a slowdown in cargo growth this year.
ACI HQ will continue to compile and publish industry statistics that help you make the case for growth and cooperate in capacity planning with industry partners. Your airports’ participation in our monthly and annual surveys is a solid contribution to this effort.
• New security regulations, such as the liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions that were imposed this year, can be costly to implement, can create congestion at security checkpoints and can directly impact retail sales at airports. This will be an on-going concern that our industry must manage in order to avoid eroding passenger satisfaction, confidence and spending.
ACI HQ is actively pursuing a global solution with ICAO, representing airport views and concerns as we seek for a harmonised approach that can be adopted worldwide. Progress in this effort is being made.
• Competition can dictate innovative changes in your business model and your management teams need to be top-notch. Here in Korea, Incheon has created a massive new Free Trade Zone to attract key freight players. This is part of the airport’s successful strategy for commercial development, which aims to position Incheon as a major logistics hub in Northeast Asia.
ACI HQ will continue to provide effective programs for your staff to improve their management skills. We are offering extensive training possibilities worldwide including new training centres in Dubai, Incheon and Kuala Lumpur. ACI is launching in June a new airport management professional accreditation programme in partnership with ICAO, a first for the industry and a solid commitment to professionalism in our industry.
• Our relations with airline customers will evolve: we may see sudden increases in traffic: today many airlines are once again introducing new capacity; certain hubs will see a surge in traffic from the introduction of the A380; new open skies agreements could boost traffic; low cost carriers will serve new city pairs and may demand facilities adapted to their specific needs. Or, from a contrarian view, oil prices could continue to impact many carriers, and those in precarious financial straits may cut services, leaving airports (at least temporarily) stranded with excess capacity.
ACI HQ will continue to speak out on your behalf with international and regional airline associations, encouraging open and transparent discussions, to make sure that our airline customers understand airport business constraints, our position on user charges and the need for partnership in agreeing necessary investments in infrastructure.
• Business flexibility--this is a global business, with global pressures. We need to convince governments that we need a light-handed touch in regulating the industry so that we can react to the market demands. Airports need governments to streamline approval processes, and to encourage cross border investments. Last year China announced plans for almost 50 new airports, on top of the extensive expansion programme underway at Beijing to react to double digit growth.
ACI HQ and the regions will continue to lobby on your behalf with governments and regulatory bodies to strongly deliver the message of expediency and cooperation.
• Environmentally compatible aviation. This is perhaps the greatest challenge of the future. World economies depend on aviation, but at the same time the aviation industry has been targeted as a contributor to climate change. We need a balanced debate, not exaggerated statements and misconceptions about our industry’s contributions. Our industry has shown that we can improve air traffic management, we can reduce aircraft emissions, we can introduce environmental protection efforts at airports. We need to set goals and meet them.
ACI believes in a sustainable and environmentally responsible role for aviation. On behalf of our members, we participate in the ICAO CAEP process, promoting ways in which we can reduce our environmental footprint. We promote the new industry communications initiative, led by ATAG (air transport action group), to set the record straight on aviation’s impact, our efforts and our progress on reducing that impact.
Let me close by saying that I know that all of us here share a vision for sustainable aviation, one based on expertise, professionalism and service excellence. This conference gives you the best forum to discuss your regional perspectives and share personal experiences and best practices. I wish you all the best for an outstanding conference and know that each of you will fully profit from this excellent agenda that awaits you.