Meet the ACI World Governing Board: Geoff Culbert

Sabrina Guerrieri by Sabrina Guerrieri | Jan 14, 2020

Over the course of the year, readers of ACI Insights will have the opportunity to meet each ACI World Governing Board (WGB) member. This article features Geoff Culbert, Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Airport.

Geoff joined Sydney Airport in 2018 and is focused on driving responsible and sustainable growth and enhancing the customer experience for the 44 million passengers who pass through Australia’s busiest airport each year.

Prior to joining Sydney Airport, Geoff spent 15 years at General Electric (GE) in a number of senior global and domestic roles, including most recently as the President and Chief Executive of GE Australia and New Zealand.

Celebrating the airport’s Centenary in 2019, Geoff is focused on delivering the airport’s purpose to make Sydney proud every day.

What do you see as ACI’s primary role in the modern airport industry?

The world has never been more complex or uncertain, so it is incredibly important that our industry speaks with one voice. We need to ensure that people all over the world understand the enormous contribution airports and aviation make to economic and social development. We also need to make sure that our industry is listening and ahead of the curve on responding to issues that people care about, like climate change. ACI is an important facilitator for the industry in this regard.

What would you like to accomplish during your term on the ACI World Governing Board?

The rise of ‘flight shaming’ in Europe, the US and elsewhere threatens to distract from so much of the good work we do in stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. I will be focused on ensuring we speak regularly, openly and in a united way about the work the airport industry is doing to mitigate climate change and facilitate air travel in a more environmentally sustainable way.    

What are some of the innovations happening at your airport and how is it benefiting airport stakeholders in a tangible way?

With more than 44 million passengers and 350,000 flight movements every year, improving our operational efficiency by even half a percent generates an enormous dividend in terms of our customers’ experience.

When it comes to technology investments, we are driven by things that are going to take the friction and hassle out of travelling. Technology is becoming increasingly important and we’re using it to look at everything from biometrics for faster passenger processing, to data analytics to improve aircraft taxi times and baggage handling.

Airports are often described as generators of socio-economic benefits to communities, States and regions at large. How does your airport engage with and serve its surrounding community (e.g., initiatives)?

In 2019 we changed our purpose as an organization to “making Sydney proud every day.” This purpose guides our investment and our focus, and we are shifting the perception of Sydney Airport from being simply an infrastructure asset, to being valued as a community asset.

We value our community investment initiatives at more than $5.5 million annually, providing support to a range of local events, festivals, clubs, and councils. We support organizations as diverse as local surf life-saving clubs, grassroots and elite cricket, and not-for-profit legal centers providing services to people who experience social and economic disadvantage.   

What’s next for aviation?

The next five years are going to be incredibly exciting. For a remote country like Australia, the prospect of ultra long-range aircraft will be a game changer. We can currently reach 60 percent of the world’s population in a single flight. Inside five years that will be greatly improved. This is going to stimulate a renewed wave of tourism and economic growth and will add a new chapter to the proud history of Australian aviation.

The WGB consists of 28 representatives nominated by the regional ACI Boards, plus the Immediate Past Chair of the Board. The number of regional representatives is calculated based on each region’s share of passenger and cargo traffic.

The ACI WGB meets twice a year for strategic discussions on key subjects for airport operators that reflect the concerns and interests of ACI members. They also determine ACI’s worldwide policies, report to the General Assembly, approve the budget, worldwide programme of activities, policy statements and participation in the work of other world bodies, among other duties.

Sabrina Guerrieri

Sabrina Guerrieri

Manager, Communications, ACI World
Sabrina Guerrieri is ACI World's Communications Manager with over 7 years of aviation experience working in corporate and B2B communications. Skilled in writing and editing, promoting and protecting brand reputation, project management, stakeholder engagement and alignment, integrated and data-driven campaigns.
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