Editorial: Serving our members today and tomorrow

Serving our members today and tomorrow

By Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE

The peak summer months have seen European air traffic pursuing its recovery, a more than welcome trend after the unprecedented fallout caused by the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano – not to mention the massive declines of last year. With monthly passenger growth above 5% in recent months, the prospects are looking up again.

Yet, there is still much ground to regain as we remain well below 2008 levels. Airlines continue to be very careful in adding new capacity and are definitely focusing on yields recovery. Even the major Low Cost Carriers are now growing at a much slower pace than they used to. For a business largely dependent on volumes like ours, this is clearly a limiting factor. Also critical, is the fact that – probably for the first time, traffic trends are anything but uniform across Europe. This accounts for the diverging performance of national economies – with airports in countries such as Greece, Ireland and the UK still very much feeling the pain.

Against this background, ACI EUROPE is more focused than ever on monitoring policy developments, defending the interests of the airport community at pan-European level and promoting best practices for airport operations and management. These objectives are fully reflected in our new Strategic Plan adopted last June by our General Assembly, which sets a clear direction for our Association up to 2015. Central to the underlying vision of our Plan is the fact that airports are businesses in their own right that need their licence to operate and grow.

Rest assured, the work we have carried out in the last months to look at our medium to long-term prospects has not distracted us from dealing with those issues that are of immediate relevance. Following our reaction to the volcanic ash crisis, our agenda in Brussels this autumn is quite full, with many policy issues and industry events keeping us busy.

As I am writing these lines, I am on my way back from Geneva, where I participated in the 5th Aviation & Environment Summit (organised by ATAG). Having reported there on the progress achieved by Airport Carbon Accreditation after just 15 months of operations, I could see that we are making strides in raising the environmental profile of European airports. Added to the positive feedback received from those airports that became Airport Carbon Accredited, I am comforted that with this unique initiative, ACI EUROPE is indeed creating value for its members – both at individual and collective levels.

October sees us delivering the 5th edition of AIRPORT EXCHANGE, hosted this year by TAV Airports in Istanbul. This unique multi-conference platform will be the opportunity to step up and showcase our ambitions on A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making). Through our cooperation with EUROCONTROL, we have been driving the implementation of this performance-driven procedure for ground operations. In doing so, we are not only looking at better integrating airports in the ATM network, we are also anticipating what will become mandatory through SESAR and the Single European Sky. Following the successful A-CDM road shows in the UK, Germany and Greece (with one more about to take place in France), more than 30 European airports are now engaged in A-CDM implementation. Going forward, ACI EUROPE is targeting full and complete implementation at 10 of them by the end of 2011.

In addition to the regular meetings of our Committees and Forum, this autumn also sees us hosting two members-only workshops. The 2nd ACI EUROPE Workshop on Economic Regulation is happening just as we are putting the final touches to this edition of the magazine. Taking place in Brussels, the workshop aimed at advising airports in their dealings with airlines, reviewing best practices, market developments and the EU Directive on airport charges. Our 1st ACI EUROPE Russia/CIS Workshop in Moscow (November) will help us re-engage with our membership to the East of Europe and strengthen our role as a knowledge source organisation.

Of course, being in touch with the EU institutions is part of our everyday work, and the coming months will see no shortage of that. Security, climate change, noise, slots, ground handling – these are just a few of the issues we will be dealing with. In this context, the ability of ACI EUROPE to speak as the authoritative voice of Europe’s airports is fully recognised. This is why we will represent the airport sector at the Aviation Summit organised by the EU Belgian Presidency at the end of October. This is also why our President has just been personally invited by EU Transport Commissioner Kallas to be part of the Aviation Platform, a new and High Level forum of industry top executives advising the Commissioner.

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