During the month of May I had the opportunity to travel to almost every region of the world: from Latin America to the Middle East to Asia-Pacific, Europe and back to North America—supporting the industry restart and addressing our needs and aspirations at global forums. The uptick of in-person events, the continuation of the easing of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, and the restored buzz of passenger-filled terminals are prevalent signs of a recovering sector. It is both a great pleasure and a great responsibility to speak at international events and share the airport perspective, and the same goes for our subject matter experts. This requires us, as ACI World’s representatives, to both listen to and inform airports and the aviation community on the latest trends, knowledge, and emerging topics to stay abreast of change and together, to shape our collective future.
At the beginning of May I was able to reunite with our colleagues from Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) in Sao Paulo, Brazil and to participate at the first-ever Airport Day Brazil event. Hosted by Guarulhos Airport, the one-day conference was very well attended by key Brazilian airport representatives, World Business Partners, and government authorities such as the Brazilian Secretary of Civil Aviation. Led by ACI LAC Board Chair Ezequiel Barrenechea, the Latin America and Caribbean Board Meeting followed and had a very positive agenda. Congratulations to the ACI LAC Director General and his team for organizing these highly successful meetings.
From the 9–11 May, I travelled to beautiful Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the Aviation Summit. The inaugural event served as a global platform for the aviation sector to connect and collectively establish a clear vision on how the industry can accelerate business growth and recovery, promote sustainability, and enhance the passenger experience. I was interviewed by Richard Attias, Chairman of RA&A and CEO of FII Institute where we touched upon several hot topics with the main focus being on the long-term resilience of the aviation ecosystem. There is much common ground on recovery and the resilience of the industry, and we look forward to working together constructively with Saudi Arabia and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to promote airport-friendly policies at the highest levels of government.
We were honored to take part in the inaugural Changi Aviation Summit, jointly organized by the Singapore Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. Along with Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S Iswaran, President of the ICAO Council Salvatore Sciacchitano and IATA’s Director General, I was pleased to provide an opening address that touched on the need to both imagine aviation’s future and actively build it. We know where we want to be and that we must all work together to get there, but the road still needs to be defined. By touching on sustainability and climate change, inclusivity, and workforce challenges, I emphasized the need to transform commitment into action for the benefit of travellers and communities that we all serve.
All these elements and many more were discussed during the conference and are important to expedite aviation’s recovery. As COVID-19 travel restrictions ease and air travel increases, we must also continue to prioritize interoperable solutions for proof of health status, and to leverage technologies that promote the health and safety of passengers as well as operational processes. This will also help us be better prepared for any future potential health events. On this front, the ACI Airport Health Accreditation program has been an optimal tool for airports to benchmark themselves against international standards and reassure passengers as air travel returns.
I was thrilled to attend the ACI Asia-Pacific (APAC) Assembly in Singapore and meet in-person with colleagues and friends from the region. ACI APAC Director General and his team did a great job, organizing an amazing event, with very interesting topics and the election of new regional board members. I would like to congratulate Emmanuel Menanteau for his appointment as Chair of the Asia Pacific Board and the ACI Executive Committee member from 1 June, and to thank Seow Hiang Lee for his leadership over the last four years, in particular during the last two which have been far from easy for everyone. I am pleased to note that Mr. Lee will continue to be part of the Asia Pacific Board as Immediate Past President, and continue as a member of the World Governing Board until the end of 2023.
From Singapore I travelled to Leipzig, Germany for the International Transport Forum (ITF) that had as its theme “Transport for inclusive societies.” I was pleased to participate on a panel for better collaboration where I spoke about seizing opportunity on many fronts.
The opportunity to collaborate so we can make airports and air travel accessible to persons with disabilities; to remove barriers and cultivate a skilled and inclusive workforce to support the transition of this vital sector; to jumpstart the scaling of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)—a key pillar of air transport reaching its climate action goals; and, to make airports a hub for the community for the benefit of citizens.
Airports, supported by ACI, are doing their part in many of these areas—seeking partnerships, implementing trials, embedding sustainability in their business strategies, and sharing best practices for the benefit of the greater airport community, among other things. Overall, these efforts are headed in the right direction, but to truly accelerate these goals, we will need this key ingredient of bold collaboration and action.
Our sincere thanks to ITF’s Dr. Young Tae KIM and his team for the excellent work and hospitality during the #ITF2022 Summit. Congratulations also to Dr. Kim for being re-elected for a second term as Secretary-General. We look forward to continuing our collaboration and mutual support to drive sustainable and inclusive transport for all.
Speaking of collaboration, I’m also pleased to report that I will be guest editing the next edition of International Airport Review (IAR). I have curated the theme and content of this edition with an eye to this future, where travellers are welcomed in one sustainable aviation ecosystem. While we have all been heavily affected by the pandemic, the aviation industry is coming out more united and with the clear understanding that we must support each other to fully recover and prosper.To meet future air traffic demand, sustain a long-term recovery, and maximize aviation’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, all aviation stakeholders must work together in one collaborative aviation ecosystem. After all, a thriving air transport system is the sum of its healthy parts.
The realization of this issue was a team effort, made possible from the contributions of our subject matter experts, as well as communications specialists. In addition, this edition showcases articles from other ACI member airports and colleagues in the aviation value chain.
Some of the key elements of this edition will be the subjects of ACI’s advocacy efforts at the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 41st Assembly this fall. I will lead the ACI Delegation and ACI will present several Working Papers covering diverse topics such as workforce, inclusivity, sustainability, and the modernization of global policy frameworks, among others. All Working Papers however, will be centred around the common theme of #All4One serving the whole aviation ecosystem and we invite you to keep a close watch of our activities this fall.
At the end of the day, we all work for the benefit of the end user, the customer, and airports’ surrounding communities, who reap the social and economic benefits that aviation provides. Let us continue to build one sustainable aviation ecosystem for all.