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 Nazareno Ventola, CEO & Managing Director, Aeroporto G. Marconi Bologna.
I joined the aviation industry exactly 20 years ago, after a brief consultancy. I initially started my professional career in the energy sector, as a Chemical Engineer by trade. In January 2000 I began working with Bologna Airport as an Analysis & Planning Manager, responsible for supporting senior management and the Board of Directors about strategic business decisions.
The years following, I had the chance to develop my experience within the company. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in every step that has transformed Bologna Airport from a company mostly focused on handling business with a “utility” approach and with a total traffic count of around 3 million passengers, into a listed company on the Milan Stock Exchange with a strong commercial focus and serving nearly 10 million passengers.
I don’t think we could have reached the results we achieved as an airport company without the benefits, both direct and indirect, that come from being an ACI Member. One of the first tasks I was assigned when I joined the airport in Spring 2000 was to take part in the ACI Europe Economics Committee. The learning experience was really valuable for me and for the company as a whole. After this positive experience I promoted and suggested to my colleagues that they join all the different ACI Standing Committees dealing with Commercial, Policy, Security, Infrastructure, etc. I strongly believe in external exposure and mutual learning with colleagues coming from other airports around Europe and the world. Through this community we’re also able to establish informal networks useful in exploring new ideas and exchanging information and knowledge.
Bologna Airport started as a mid-sized regional airport with a very dynamic catchment area that grew over the last 10 years almost twice as much as the national and European average. We’ve been listed on the national Stock Exchange since July 2015 and interact with all kinds of stakeholders and shareholders. I see the aviation industry at a turning point due to the growing environmental pressure from one side and the consolidation process in the airline industry on the other side. I would like to be part of and positively contribute to the transformation and evolution that our industry will undergo in the coming years.
We have been introducing technologies in our operations to improve queue management and the passengers’ independence through self-technologies. We have also developed tools aimed at monitoring passengers’ behaviours along their journey to provide them with better services.
We’re very aware of that. Currently we estimate a global impact on our catchment area of nearly 20,000 jobs and 1 billion Euros. We serve our community not just through air connectivity but also with specific projects such as developing a green belt that will offset a large part of our CO2 emissions. We’re a member of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme since 2008 and we are engaged with the Net Zero 2050 ACI Europe Commitment launched in June 2019. We develop projects and initiatives aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a special focus on gender equality: our gender salary gap is below 2% and our target is to reduce it further in the coming years.
At the global level we’re going to face huge challenges due to climate change and its potential impact on regulation and operations, and also from emerging cybersecurity threats. I believe that our industry will increasingly need to bring in new competencies that are not available today in airports. We’ll need to stay attractive to candidates to be able to compete for competencies within other industries, therefore the sustainability issue will need to be embedded into our overall business strategy.
Nazareno Ventola joined Aeroporto G. Marconi di Bologna in January 2000 with previous experience in the energy and consultancy industries. As an Analysis & Planning Manager he helped building strategic planning, business development and benchmarking practices within the company. In 2002 he became Planning & Control Director and in 2011 Strategy and Corporate Performance Management Director, responsible for coordination and promotion of the strategic conversation within the company and focusing on monitoring corporate performance and strategic business development. In 2013 he became Managing Director and in July 2015 CEO of Aeroporto G. Marconi di Bologna.
In 2015 Nazareno Ventola led Aeroporto G. Marconi di Bologna to a successful landing at the Italian Stock Exchange: Borsa Italiana, through an initial public offering that allowed the opening of the majority of the Company’s shareholding to private investors. Nazareno Ventola holds a cum laude MSc degree in Chemical Engineering. He is currently an ACI Europe and ACI World Governing Board Member.
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.