From one horizon to another, airports have made the world a smaller place. As a critical component of the international transportation system, our industry continues to contribute to the economic and social well-being development of local, national and regional economies. Airports connect people, places, goods and services. It is incumbent on governments and regulators to see airports as the important strategic assets they are if they to achieve the benefits they can bring to passengers and shippers.
We are already experiencing the strong growth of air service demand and forecast that it will continue in the foreseeable future, assuming that our sector can make the significant infrastructure investments needed worldwide. This, in turn, possesses economic and financial challenges for the sector since airports need to be able to secure sufficient funding to cover their aeronautical costs and finance their development in the long run while remaining competitive in the air service market in this era of airline dominance.
Airports Council International (ACI) World will host its 10th Annual Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition in London on 9–11 April, organized in cooperation with the World Bank. The conference meets at a time of concern over the rise of economic protection inclinations in advanced economies but also a time of seemingly irrepressible growth in global trade and air transport demand. Air transport demand continues to post annual growth rates in excess of 6%.
The upcoming conference will stimulate discussion on how airports meet their financial challenges in the face of this unusual combination of buoyancy and uncertainty. It is the only global conclave that covers the breadth of the airport financial discipline while mining the depth of the most pressing issues of the day. This year, given the threats to some of the fundamentals of airport finance, the conference will examine how airports can operate under the ownership and management models that best fit their specific circumstances—either as a stand-alone entity or as part of a network.
The conference will be a stimulating mix of high-level presentations and panel discussions from industry leaders, investors, decision-makers, and airport professionals. As always, the Economics & Finance Conference seeks to promote an economically sustainable airport industry for all members, large or small, in every region of the world, for the benefit of governments, taxpayers, the flying public and shippers.
We also have the data to see how we are doing in achieving this goal. At the Conference, we will release the new ACI Economics Report and the ACI Airport Key Performance Indicators, both publications eagerly awaited by industry leaders, investors, decision-makers and airport professionals.
ACI World will continue to support enhancements to the global aviation frameworks of laws, policies and priorities by identifying and addressing legislative gaps as well as strengthening the mechanism that govern how airport activities are carried out.
I invite you to join me for this ultimate debate on the future of airports which will allow you to meet and learn from an exhaustive roster of global experts.