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Regional director, Patti Chau, reflects on the importance of supportive regulation for aviation and one of the busiest ever years for ACI Asia-Pacific and industry events.

It was a very busy summer for our office as we continued to advocate on behalf of the airport community and strengthened our presence by speaking and participating at a number of key air transport industry events.

The world’s airports face different challenges and opportunities, of course, but one thing they all have in common is the need for clear, consistent and supportive regulation to support their development and growth, and the overall success of the aviation industry.

This was certainly top of mind at the recent International Aviation Summit in Delhi, India, where ACI addressed aviation leaders from around the world and called for immediate action to assist nations and communities to meet the challenges of the rapid growth in demand for air services.

Challenges of growth

According to ACI’s most recent forecasts, India will become the third largest aviation market for passengers by 2021 when it is expected to be handling in excess of 429 million passengers per year.

And the upturn in traffic is not just confined to passengers as forecasts predict that India will be handling around 4.4 million metric tonnes of cargo annually by then, making it aviation’s seventh biggest cargo market on the planet.

For airports to continue delivering the social and economic benefits that aviation generates, ACI urged policymakers and regulators at the International Aviation Summit in India to provide a proportionate, clear and consistent regulatory framework to facilitate successful private investment.

Any national transport policy should have a long-term vision setting clear and firm objectives to achieve the modernisation of airports.

India itself has proven that partnerships between the public and private sectors is a valid option to increase the quality of service for passengers.

A clear and consistent legal framework should set the ground for further airport privatisation processes, including incentives to attract potential national and foreign investors. This is consistent with the direction of the recent Nabh Nirman 2018 initiative and proposed new transaction model for future greenfield airports.

Looking at things from a global perspective, international experiences show that disproportionate attempts to regulate the airport business could discourage investment in the future.

This isn’t good at all as it increases the risk of serious capacity constraints, which could limit economic development and result in bottlenecks, flight delays and deteriorating customer service.


Cargo calling

In September, I had the privilege of addressing an audience of international delegates at the ICAO Air Cargo Development Forum in Zhengzhou, China.

Arguably the less fashionable part of the business, and all too easy to overlook as the more glamorous passenger side of the things grabs all the attention, it was good to reflect on the importance of air cargo to the region’s airports and discuss some of the emerging issues that will potentially impact on its development.

Going forward, it is essential that air cargo’s processes, procedures and international standards are better aligned with modern demands and capabilities to ensure that the system operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

ACI applauds ICAO’s leadership as it bids to modernise the regulatory framework for global air cargo to help the industry meet these challenges.

Date in Uzbekistan

I have no doubt that China’s Belt and Road initiative will help reshape global trade and have a significant impact on the development of countries across Central Asia.

I was therefore delighted to recently be given the opportunity to attend a conference in Uzbekistan and tell the Central Asian aviation community more about ACI and its offerings.

As a result of the trip, we look forward to extending our influence across the region and, of course, hope that more Central Asian airports will become members of ACI Asia-Pacific.

Customer Excellence Global Summit

ACI organised the inaugural ACI Customer Excellence Global Summit in Halifax, Canada, this September.

It provided the industry with a much-needed platform for airports around the world to convey their customer service experience and share best-practices and lessons learned.

The event combined the traditional ASQ Forums held across the ACI Regions into a single, high-profile, international gathering and included the prestigious ASQ Awards ceremony where Asia-Pacific airports once again picked up a host of awards.

During the latter half of the event, delegates addressed customer excellence challenges and opportunities including the return on experience, collaboration for the customer, management of customer satisfaction during emergencies and disruptions, passenger experience technology, smart investment, and services for passengers with reduced mobility.

With such a programme the summit is destined to become the most respected industry event for the promotion of customer service excellence.

Conclusion of 2018 WBP Airport Tour

Talking about successful events, I wanted to quickly note that we have successfully concluded our Asia-Pacific World Business Partners (WBP) Airport Tour for 2018.

The tour provided our World Business Partners with the unique opportunity to meet with senior airport executives and learn more about some of the exciting business opportunities available at airports across the region.

This year we managed to bring nine companies to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Siem Reap (Cambodia). I would like to take this opportunity to thank our host airports and, of course, our members for supporting the initiative.

You can be assured that we are already working on next year’s programme and look forward to bringing you more details about this in the near future.

Final countdown

This ‘Planning & Design’ themed issue of Asia-Pacific Airports is being published in time for the ACI Asia-Pacific Small & Emerging Airports Seminar in Langkawi, Malaysia, on October 10-12.

The seminar, which this year is being hosted with the full support of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, is really one of the industry’s most unique events as it brings together members from across the Asia-Pacific region to discuss the challenges specific to small and emerging airports.

Next up is the Trinity Forum in Shanghai, China, on October 31 to November 1, followed by Airport Exchange in Oslo, Norway, from November 27 – 29. I hope you will be able to join us at both of these important global shows, which will draw an exciting year to a close for ACI Asia-Pacific events.

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