Message from the Director General

Angela Gittens by Angela Gittens | Nov 1, 2018

November 2018

With the continued increase in global traffic and the need to accommodate new and larger aircraft, it has been a challenge for airports to maintain efficiency while at the same time ensuring that they continue to meet the highest safety standards. This year, the ACI World Safety and Technical Standing Committee continued its efforts to respond to this challenge through contributions and interactions with ICAO on airport matters.

Today, airports are part of a global network within which the safety and sustainable performance of one airport may affect the safety and performance of other airports. Airports benefit their customers and their communities when they exercise best practice in operational management. Our members have traditionally been willing to assist other airport operators and this engagement is not diminished by the increased competition among airports.

In an important step forward, the ICAO Air Navigation Commission approved a set of amendments to the aerodrome design standards in Annex 14, which would change the international standards and recommended practices for runway width, taxiway width, and runway to taxiway separation. This will take effect in a few days, on November 8, 2018. these amendments enable Code F aircraft to be used at existing Code E airports with few changes to infrastructure. This will have an enormous effect, saving construction costs, reducing operating restrictions and increasing operational efficiency. Other airports will benefit too, for example, from reduction of the minimum runway strip width for all aircraft with a main landing gear span of over 9 metres.

ACI has been aggressively advocating for these amendments and thanks its members for their support. These efforts will pay off as ICAO member states implement them in their regulations.

To date during 2018, member airports and ACI World staff represented airport interests in ICAO symposiums, notably the Thirteenth Air Navigation Conference which took place in Montreal from October 9 to 19 and covered the theme “From Development to Implementation”. It included discussions about the implementation of operational improvements, such as technology, operational concepts and roadmaps, from the conceptual phase until deployment. ACI presented five working papers and all of them were accepted for debate and their recommendations were adopted. These recommendations are addressed to ICAO and its member states and cover subjects from aerodrome safety and efficiency to ground and airspace capacity, as well as emerging issues such as cyber resilience, traffic management for drones (UTM), regulations for remotely piloted aircraft systems, new generation supersonic transports and commercial space transport, which will affect airports. ACI also obtained clear and welcoming endorsements of the APEX in Safety programme and the joint ACI-IATA NEXTT initiative (new experience travel technologies).

Members have also recently discussed current and emerging airport issues and ACI World has recently released a number of guidance document:

The ACI Template for Ground Handling Service Provider Agreements: From 2013 ACI’s World Governing Board and ACI regions have taken up the issue of a policy framework to help members address the complex issues involved in ground handling, to resolve safety and regulatory challenges to airports without neglecting the efficiency and commercial viewpoints of airlines. The majority of ground handling activity worldwide is now carried out by independent ground handlers under contract to airlines, and these ground handlers are largely unregulated. As the industry becomes more receptive to reviewing traditional silos and holistic approaches to safety, and as airport operators have become more attentive to performance in the entire airport platform, it is timely to discuss the boundaries of airport management attention over third party performance in ground handling.

The Drone Policy Paper: aiming to help airports respond to the rapid growth of the drone and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) market worldwide. Drone operations are expected to soon surpass the number of manned aircraft operations and airport operators have a vested interest in the development of regulations and standards that determine how drones will be integrated into the aviation system. This policy document aims to ensure that useful drone operations are facilitated without negative impact to the safety, security, efficiency or capacity of airport operations.

The World Governing Board has also agreed on a Resolution urging members to submit safety data to ACI. Appreciating the importance of safety data for airport operators in the context of the requirement for airport operators to have a Safety Management System under ICAO Annex 14 (Aerodromes) and 19 (Safety Management), this will allow us to support a strong focus on safety data and information that should lead to improvements in airport safety.

Through our training curriculum and the Global Safety Network (GSN) Diploma Programme, we will continue to provide members with specialized courses on airport safety specifically designed to meet the needs of airside operations and safety managers, including developing, implementing and operating effective Safety Management Systems (SMS) at their airports.

Finally, 18 safety reviews have been conducted to date in 2018 – eight in Africa, six in North America, and four in Asia-Pacific. We will pursue our efforts in promoting safer airport operations and cooperation between through the programme in order to achieve our planned objective of 20 reviews by the end of the year.

Clearly, all this would not have been possible without the engagement of the members of the WSTSC, representing all regions of the world. ACI World cannot rest on its laurels as 2019 promises to be another challenging year with ICAO adopting a series of amendments to the Annexes to the Chicago Convention which have significant benefits to airports and ACI will strongly support their implementation.

Looking forward, ACI affirms its commitment to its members and will continue to participate in activities that serve to promote the overall operational safety and managerial excellence of airports worldwide, and those activities to include board and committee work, peer reviews, knowledge sharing through conferences and seminars. We are committed to contribute resources and expertise to “leave no airport behind” through such programmes as the Developing Nations Assistance Programme and the Airport Excellence (APEX) Programmes.

To this end, ACI will continue to strengthen its ability to facilitate knowledge sharing and to broaden the community of airports worldwide in order to ensure the safety of air travel.

Angela Gittens

Angela Gittens

Director General, ACI World
Angela Gittens began her tenure as Director General of ACI World in 2008. She was formerly airport CEO for Miami and Atlanta and Deputy at San Francisco International Airport. In other roles, Gittens led HNTB Corporation’s airport business and strategic planning practice and, at TBI Airport Management, she oversaw the transition to private ownership of London Luton Airport and managed operations contracts at several airports in the US and Canada. She is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and has served on numerous aviation industry boards and committees.
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