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 Joyce Carter, President & CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA).
Joyce joined HIAA in 1999 and has been integral in HIAA’s growth and development since then, becoming Chief Financial Officer in 2006, Chief Strategy Officer in 2008 and President & CEO in 2014.
Joyce is currently a board member of the Airports Council International (ACI) World Governing Board, ACI-North America Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the Canadian Airports Council, and Board Member and past President of the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Canada Airports Association. She’s also a member of Women in Aviation International and Women in Aerospace Canada – Atlantic, and continually promotes the integral role women play in the transportation and aviation/aerospace industry.
She is past chairwoman of the Halifax Gateway Council, a public/private group formed to pursue multi-modal transportation opportunities in the region and as board member and vice chair of the Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd. (now Develop Nova Scotia) for eight years. Joyce proudly served nine years both as a board member of the Board of Trustees of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and on Dalhousie University’s Board of Governors and Executive Committee and chair of their Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Committee. Joyce holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University and is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia. In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious designation of Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA), and she obtained the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation in 2015.
This is the most challenging question, but I’ll go with collaborator. As the CEO of an airport, we have very little control over what goes on in the day-to-day. It’s our job to collaborate with airport and community stakeholders to influence and achieve our common objectives.
I see ACI’s primary role being two-fold, bringing airports from around the world together and helping us advance the industry. We’re fortunate to have an international organization dedicated to advocating on our behalf as a unified front, while consistently bringing airports together to enable us to grow, share, and learn from one another.
As only one of two women CEOs from 26 airports in Canada’s National Airport System, one area of focus for me is stimulating change and making a difference to the advancement of women in aviation.
When I get together with leaders from airports around the world, the ratio of women to men in C-Level positions is noticeable. In order to shift the dynamic and foster opportunities for women to advance within aviation, it’s critical for those of us in leadership positions to use their platforms and create opportunities for others. Airports worldwide are worth trillions of dollars to the global economy and integral to the social and economic development of their community – they also provide an opportunity for women to take on roles traditionally dominated by men.
I have an obligation to the women in our industry to create opportunities for growth and development. I will continue to prove that women are skilled and powerful contributors to the aviation industry, and I’m committed to hiring, promoting, mentoring, and encouraging them to everyone’s benefit.
We’re leveraging our geographic location on the East Coast of Canada to increase passenger numbers and showcasing our region through a new program called Stopover Halifax. This program is being offered in partnership with Discover Halifax, a regional, non-profit, membership-based destination marketing organization responsible for overseeing the growth of visitors to Halifax, and one of our major Canadian airlines, WestJet. Stopover Halifax opens the door for arriving and connecting passengers at Halifax Stanfield to enjoy unique and exciting experiences that will leave them wanting more. It’s designed for connecting travellers with as little as seven hours and up to seven days and promotes staying in Halifax and Nova Scotia to experience attractions such as strolling along Halifax’s bustling boardwalk, hiking scenic trails at the ocean’s edge, dining on delicious fresh lobster, exploring iconic Peggy’s Cove, and more.
We’ve also recently opened an International to Domestic screening area for passengers coming to Canada and connecting to a domestic location, making it faster and easier for passengers on select flights to connect through Halifax Stanfield. These are the types of innovations our passengers enjoy and make them want to fly from, to, or through our airport.
Walking around Halifax Stanfield, you can feel a hum of excitement – crowds of people eager to get to their destination or greet a loved one and smiling employees assisting a passenger or hanging a sign for a new tenant. Things are constantly changing, and Halifax Stanfield is now a bustling, diverse airport community with 120 organizations operating on site. It’s home to over 5,600 full-time-equivalent employees, contributing $355 million annually in provincial labour income and is worth more than $3.8 billion annually to the Nova Scotia economy.
Halifax Stanfield is an ideal gateway for tourism, trade, investment, and immigration and is one of the most critical pieces of transportation infrastructure in Atlantic Canada. As an active member of the community, we’re proud that our work, and that of our tenants and partners, benefits the entire region.
We’re also dedicated members of the community we serve, forming lasting partnerships and supporting local organizations through our Community Outreach Program, which provides $200,000 in sponsorships and in-kind support annually. We also collaborate with industry stakeholders to promote our region and make ourselves available to speak with the local business community. It’s important to us that the community we serve, knows we’re there for them.
One thing I love about aviation is that it’s constantly evolving. However, there are a few areas where I can see a clear shift coming:
1) Being sustainable, in the form of environment, social, and economic factors that together create real, long-lasting sustainability. When you think about it, it’s already an important part of each aspect of our business. Airports are a major economic driver and it’s our job to continue to innovate, looking for better, more sustainable ways of operating our business with a thoughtful, holistic view towards the legacy we’re creating.
2) Adopting new technology and leveraging data. The information we have available provides a great opportunity for improvements across the industry. Data can change the game for customer experience, operational efficiencies, increased safety and security just to name a few. It’s incredibly exciting.
3) Enhancing the guest experience while containing costs. The needs of today’s passengers are different than they were even five years ago – we need to provide them with a great experience while they are here with us and meet their needs. This requires a certain amount of vigilance ensuring strategic investments benefit passenger satisfaction and our overall efficiency as an airport.
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.