ACI Airport Exchange 2019: “We cannot be radical enough – harnessing every action towards operating the zero-carbon airport”

The 13th ACI Airport Exchange, organised jointly by ACI EUROPE and ACI Asia-Pacific and hosted by Abu Dhabi Airports, took place in Abu Dhabi on 25-27 November 2019. The theme of this year’s event was “We cannot be radical enough – harnessing every action towards operating the zero-carbon airport”: Building less-impactful, smarter, secure and safer airports. Around 900 participants gathered for the global meeting of airport leaders, top aviation suppliers and airlines. This year’s ACI Airport Exchange will be hosted by Royal Schiphol Group in Amsterdam, 1-3 December 2020.

Bryan Thompson, CEO Abu Dhabi Airports, delivered the welcome from the host. He explained that 2019 was the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, which is home to 100+ nationalities, a theme bringing aviation and connectivity to the fore.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE, gave a State of the Industry Address, in which he presented a comprehensive overview of the ever-changing aviation landscape.

Patti Chau, then Regional Director, ACI Asia-Pacific, outlined the Asia-Pacific perspective on the industry, including exciting expansion projects and airports’ hard work to attain excellence in environmental, safety and security performance.

Olivier Maillard, E-Fan X Program Director, Airbus, gave a keynote address in which he explained the ambition to deliver the first electric hybrid propulsion.

In a fascinating keynote speech, Linda Celestino, Vice President Guest Service and Delivery, explained how Etihad Airways is bringing sustainable flying forward with investment in more fuel efficient 787 Dreamliners and retrofitting its existing fleet. This year, Etihad will partner with Boeing to introduce the Greenliner, incorporating step-change technology to reduce the impact of flying on the environment.

The First Working Session in the Airport Operations conference focused on autonomous and electric vehicles. Participants included Andreas Eibensteiner, Project Manager, Fraport; Tine Haas, Principal, Dornier Consulting; Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer, 2getthere; Kerry Renaud, CEO/Managing Director, Scootaround/Whill; and Cheng Xiang, Senior New Energy Product Manager, Yutong.

The Airport Security Summit began with The Asia-Europe Airport Security Leaders Forum. Speakers included Johan Merten, SVP Safety & Security, Budapest Airport; Wilfried Covent, Senior Security Expert, Brussels Airport Company; Sudhir Kumar Malik, General Manager (Security), Airports Authority of India; and Hussain F. Qabbani, Manager – International Coordination, General Authority of Civil Aviation Saudi Arabia. The session was moderated by David Trembaczowski-Ryder, Head of Aviation Security, ACI EUROPE.

The First Working Session in the Airport Development & Sustainability conference – Putting sustainability at the core of the airport business strategy – featured Susanna Rynesch, Head, Austrian platform against aircraft noise; Michelle Samson, Advisor Group Strategy & Sustainability, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; Panagiotis Karamanos, Senior Advisor, Airport Carbon Accreditation; Linda Schucroft, Director, Innovation & Development, Vancouver Airport Authority; and Leigh Gapp, Sustainability Manager, Adelaide Airport.

The First Working Session of the Digital Innovation conference focused on stand-out passenger experience technologies and stand-out new operational technologies. Participants included Ad Rutten, Rapporteur, ACI EUROPE Task Force on Baggage Handling; George Fenergi, Director Business Development, SITA; Aaron Hornlimann, CEO Elenium Automation; Abe Dev, Head of Technology and Innovation, Etihad; Joey Wang, 5G Indoor Marketing Director, Huawei; Simona Franková, CEO NG Aviation; and Anke Matijssen, Head of Airports Department, Deerns.

The airport development casebook: Good future airport ideas (and great sustainable ideas) was the focus of the Second Working Session in the Airport Development & Sustainability conference. Speakers included Leigh Gapp, Sustainability Manager, Adelaide Airport; Greg Ingleton, Manager – Environmental Opportunities, South Australian Water Corporation; Olivier Guichard, Deputy CEO, ADP Ingénierie; Saeed Khamis Al Zadjali, VP for Technical Services, Oman Airports; Panagiotis Karamanos, Senior Advisor, Airport Carbon Accreditation; Azzam Messaykeh, Managing Director UAE and Oman, KONE; Ruud Ummels, Managing Director, To70 BV; and Jacques Khoriaty, Middle East & South Asia Aviation Director, Egis.

The Airport Operations conference featured a special birdstrike session entitled: “There have to be better, scientific, and concise ways of measuring birdstrike risk.” This led with a defining presentation from Anastasios Anagnostopoulos, Head Wildlife and Biodiversity Management, Athens International Airport. He was joined in the on-stage discussion by Raj Menon, Senior Manager Compliance Assurance Operations for both Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central, and Lamir Mukhtar Hassan, Assistant Chief Bird and Wildlife Hazard Control Officer, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), operator of 22 airports.

The Airport Security and Digital Innovation conferences combined for a session on Security and the passenger experience – the desire for end-to-end solutions involving ALL the stakeholders (a special focus on biometrics). Participants included Jeffery Oboy, Partner, M2P; Kashif Khalid, Regional Director – Africa & Middle East Airports, IATA; Ahmed Juma Al Shamsi, Acting Chief Operations Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports; and Nagy Abu Zeid, Vice President Strategic Planning, Oman Airports.

The Third Working Session of the Airport Security Summit examined Computed Tomography – the future regulation, the problems, and the industry solutions. Participants included Zhisheng Dai, Deputy General Manager of Smart Inspection Division, Nuctech; Steve Buchan, Senior Director, Business Development, Rapiscan Systems; Bart Mos, Senior Security Officer, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; and Richard Thompson, Global Industry Director – Aviation, Smiths Detection.

The Abu Dhabi Airports Midfield Terminal Deep Dive Session included presentations from Sulaiman Al Siksek, Acting Chief Programs Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports; Abdul Razzak Mikati, Managing Director, Dubai Technology Partners; Amir Emam, Sales Director- Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Central Asia, Honeywell; Sytze van der Aa, Senior Vice President Business Development, HMSHost; and Damien Bolton, Director, ORAT, AECOM.

The Airport Operations and Digital Innovation conferences combined for a session on Digitalising the entire journey, the entire operation – in the airport, and in the skies. Speakers included Thomas Romig, Head Operations Control and Development, Geneva Airport; Nina Brooks, Director, Security, Facilitation and IT, ACI World; Stephen Saunders, Advisor, NEXTT, ACI World; Giorgio Camilleri, Manager, Future Airports, IATA; Kevin O’Sullivan, Lead Engineer, SITA; David Wilson, COO Oman Airports; and Peter Hotham, Deputy Executive Director, SESAR Joint Undertaking.

The Middle East Airport Leaders Masterclass was moderated by George Karamanos, Managing Director, KPI Aviation Marketing Solutions. Speakers included Sanjay Khanna, CEO Ras Al Khaimah International Airport; Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, CEO Oman Airports; H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Airport Authority; Gelban al-Gelban, VP Commercial, Riyadh Airports Company; and Bryan Thompson, CEO Abu Dhabi Airports.

The Airport Operations and Airport Security conferences combined for a session on airport drone incursion. Participants included Dave Eldridge, Sales Director, Chess Dynamics; Karl Tschetschonig, New Business Development Manager, Frequentis; Dr. Dominic Walker, CEO Aveillant; Geoff Moore, Business Development Manager, Blighter Surveillance Systems; Aidan Flanagan, Manager: Safety, Capacity, ATM & Single European Sky, ACI EUROPE; and Charles Telitsine, Innovation Project Director, Groupe ADP.

The Airport Development & Sustainability and Digital Innovation conferences combined for a session on Digital Towers. The session was moderated by Conor Mullan, Managing Director, Think, with speakers including Andy Taylor, Chief Solutions Officer, Digital Towers, NATS; Neil Bowles, Head of Air Traffic Management, Searidge Technologies; Niclas Gustavsson, VP Products and Services, Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions; Paul Diestelkamp, Head of Business Development & Solutions, Head Office, Air Navigation Solutions; and Wolfgang Hatzack, Managing Director, ATRiCS.

In his closing keynote address, Martin Bowman, General Manager, Aviation Products, McLaren Deloitte Alliance, explained how the McLaren Digital Twin approach can help airports to reduce congestion and total aircraft taxi time.

Marek Litwin, Director, Airport Strategy and Planning, Solidarity Transport Hub, gave a closing keynote address in which he outlined the concept of Solidarity Airport – the Central Transport Hub for the Republic of Poland. Litwin explained that this will have a substantial impact on the country’s economic growth – a +10% increase in air connectivity translates into +0.5% growth in GDP.

The official handover from Abu Dhabi Airports to Royal Schiphol Group – host of this year’s ACI Airport Exchange in Amsterdam, 1-3 December 2020. Pictured are Bryan Thompson, CEO Abu Dhabi Airports; Lotte Harbers, Programme Manager Aviation Security and Public Safety, Royal Schiphol Group; and Rob van den Bergh, Senior Manager Compliance and Continuity Management, Royal Schiphol Group.

The ACI Airport Exchange exhibition attracted over 70 exhibitors, with myriad airports, equipment, services and solution providers.

Abu Dhabi Airports hosted a Welcome Reception at ADNEC and a spectacular Gala Dinner at Emirates Palace, where delegates enjoyed a true taste of Emirati hospitality.

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