We are back in the Middle East for this year’s ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, Conference & Exhibition, and as with previous hosts from the region – most recently, the Airport International Group, which welcomed us to the Dead Sea, Jordan, in 2015 – I am certain that we can expect a spectacular event and some incredible hospitality in Qatar.
Our kind host, Hamad International Airport, promise us a truly memorable experience and the chance, of course, to learn more about aviation development and the challenges and opportunities ahead for Qatar, the Middle East and the entire Asia-Pacific region.
I am sure that those of you who have never been to Doha before will be impressed by this modern, vibrant, high-tech and friendly city that only goes to highlight just how culturally rich and diverse our region is. ‘Cultural awareness’ is actually the theme of this first 2017 issue of Asia-Pacific Airports magazine, which I hope you find interesting.
Like elsewhere, sustainable growth remains key to the long-term development of Asia-Pacific’s airports, and I am pleased to report that our airports continue to make great efforts in this area and embrace environmental best practice.
A total of 35 airports from across Asia-Pacific have now been certified under ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and we are extremely proud to note that Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport became our first carbon neutral airport in September 2016.
They have since been joined by Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, which gained this highest level of accreditation in December (See page 50). Last year also saw China and Japan welcome their first accredited airports.
I look forward to reporting on more of these inspiring examples of Asia-Pacific airports on their journey towards carbon neutrality in 2017.
ACI Asia-Pacific is absolutely committed to working closely with our members and supporting them on their green journey.
We recently renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Civil Airports Association, and one of the undertakings in the agreement is to further promote Airport Carbon Accreditation to airports in China.
Meanwhile, our Green Airports Recognition programme is designed to promote environmental best practices and recognise and honour the airports that achieve outstanding success in their environmental projects.
You can read more about this newly launched initiative later on in this issue.
Working with ICAO
We actively engage with ICAO and take part in their meetings on a regular basis where we represent the airport community and reflect its position on a range of different issues.
In March, for example, we participated in ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) Working Group 2 meeting in Sydney, Australia. The working group focuses on aircraft noise and emissions issues linked to airports and operations.
Indeed, ACI shares many common goals with ICAO and we are in support of its ‘No Country Left Behind’ campaign, which is designed to ensure that the implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) is better harmonised globally, so that all ICAO States have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport.
Need for new infrastructure
Arguably, our region continues to lead the world in both airport investment and the number of new airport construction projects taking place across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Airport infrastructure, of course, has to keep pace with the predicted high levels of traffic growth across the entire region over the next 30 years, and the necessity to expand existing facilities or build new ones hasn’t been lost on a number of countries in our region.
Dubai International Airport, for example, opened its new Concourse D last year and continues to develop Dubai World Central–Al Maktoum International Airport. Elsewhere, Shenzhen Bo’an has unveiled plans for a new Satellite Concourse, Abu Dhabi International Airport is set to open its eagerly awaited Midfield Terminal in 2019, and both Beijing and Mumbai are planning major new airports.
However, wanting and needing new facilities and being able to fund and build them are often very different matters for airports across our region.
In fact, in reality, many have insufficient funding for new infrastructure, and this is why making maximum use of an airport’s existing assets is absolutely crucial going forward.
Investing in staff
One way of doing this and potentially raising capacity at the same time, without the need for new infrastructure, is for airports to invest in their employees to help improve operational efficiency and ensure a safe and secure environment.
A host of courses offered by ACI Global Training, our Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer service efforts and Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety programme are just a few of the ways we can help airport staff do their jobs better, and ultimately increase efficiency.
Strategic plan for 2018-2020
ACI is always 100% focused on representing the best interests of our members, and I believe that we know our airports better than ever before after carrying out a Membership Survey this year.
Without doubt it has given us an even greater understanding of the needs and concerns, challenges and difficulties of our members. And, just as importantly, it gave them the opportunity to evaluate the work we do and the services ACI provides.
We will use the feedback we received to guide us in developing our Strategic Plan for 2018 – 2020 and ensure that our work will be in line with our members’ needs and expectations.
For the record, I would just like to add that the participation rate of the survey was very pleasing and provided yet another example of the valuable support we get from our members.
The year ahead
I am sure that 2017, the Chinese Year of the Rooster, will be another productive one for our office in which we further grow our services and become stronger as the voice of Asia-Pacific’s airports.
Enjoy this issue of Asia-Pacific Airports magazine and see you in Doha!