In June for the 28th consecutive time, the global community of airports convened, this year in Brussels, Belgium to discuss how airports should enhance their brands as businesses and face the emerging challenges of our industry. It was another successful event and a well-attended annual meeting, attracting more than 800 delegates, including government officials, aviation regulators, airlines and suppliers from 70 nations. We were all treated to world-class hospitality and superb organisation from the excellent professionals from the Brussels Airport Company, ably led by Mr. Arnaud Feist.
The selection of Brussels as the venue of the conference was stellar. It`s not just a popular destination for tourism but is also an international policy centre, a place where big decisions that can affect the airport industry in the European Union are taken. And the decisions made there can affect aviation all around the world.
We conducted the popular pre-conference forums, featuring in-depth coverage of four disciplines vital to our industry: safety and technical operations, cargo, human resources, and security and facilitation. re particularly focused on the challenges facing the airport industry, and this included safety and operational issues, Cargo handling, Human Resources and Facilitation.
For the conference, we heard provocative insights from a legacy airline CEO, essentially calling for the historical airline-airport business environment, upstart airline executives demonstrating a desire for an evolved business environment and from airport CEO’s heralding the emerging business environment. We launched the new ACI Policy Brief on Creating fertile grounds for private investment in airports which provided objective data on the subject of private sector participation in the airport market.
The second day of the conference treated the delegates to insights on sustainability and corporate social responsibility activities of airports from around the world as well as exciting solutions for airports to confront the digital transformation and airport branding and to understand the burgeoning Chinese travel market. It ended with a reflection by yours truly and IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac, on the sometimes divisive issues of slot allocation and private sector participation in airports.
The ACI World annual general assembly adopted four business resolutions to express airport objectives on cyber security, safety data, adaptation to climate change and infrastructure investment. As well, the general assembly paid homage to the dedication and generosity of the original founders of the ACI Fund, the original manifestation of the commitment to: “leave no airport behind.”
During the event, we couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that, over the years, the pace of change has continued to accelerate. Airports are a component of an essential and dynamic industry. Today, we remain a pillar of the global aviation ecosystem. We both effect change and adapt to change, whether from: technological developments, generational, regional and local demographic shifts; geopolitical trends and shocks; climate and weather events, and a myriad of other forces.
As the preeminent voice of the world’s airports, we remain committed to bringing together our members, to advance the development of sound public policy and to engage with governments and aviation stakeholders worldwide. Because together, airports are stronger and aviation is stronger.
To this end, I was delighted to announce that Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will be the host airport for the 2019 ACI) Asia-Pacific/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition, 2-4 April, the world’s largest airport meeting tailored for senior and C-level aviation executives. The event will address the latest issues and the future development of the global airport industry. Save the date!