Lead Interviews Articles
The story of Qatari aviation is one of vibrant growth and development, built on a philosophy of superior service and quality. It is the perfect example of a fully-formed strategy, which places aviation at the
heart of the nation’s desire for growth. Spearheading this growth is Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Doha International Airport and Qatar Airways, and a ubiquitous business ambassador for his country. He outlined his clearly defined vision to Ross Falconer.
For the perfect example of a forward-thinking airport, with innovation and the passenger experience at the heart of its strategy, look no further than Copenhagen Airports. Its CEO Thomas Woldbye outlined his clear vision for a ‘World Class Hub’ to Ross Falconer.
One of the ways in which the vibrant, exciting nature of the airport industry is best illustrated is by the people working within it. The dynamic young executives at the heart of many of Europe’s airports are testament to the attractiveness of the sector as a stimulating career choice. Ross Falconer spoke with three senior executives – all aged under 40 – from different European airports to obtain their fresh perspectives on the industry.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) owns and operates four UK airports – Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth, and now London-Stansted following the recently completed £1.5 billion (€1.8bn) acquisition. The newly expanded group serves 44 million annual passengers and has an ambitious strategy for continued profitable growth, as its CEO Charlie Cornish explained to Ross Falconer.
Brian Simpson MEP is a long-standing member of the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) and has been its Chair since 2009. In a very timely interview, he spoke to Airport Business shortly after the Committee had voted on the ‘Airport Package’ – a process which, significantly, saw it reject the proposed new rules on ground handling. Ross Falconer reports.
Hungary’s largest international airport has become accustomed to the limelight over the past 7 years, since it was originally privatised. It has become a by-word in the airport business for fresh thinking and innovation, not least due to its award winning strategy for attracting airlines. 2012 got off to a very difficult start, with the loss of its home carrier, but Budapest Airport is fighting fit. Jost Lammers, CEO, Budapest Airport, outlined his strategy to Ross Falconer.
Aena Aeropuertos is the world’s largest airport operator, managing 47 airports and two heliports in Spain. It also has interests in 26 airports internationally. The portfolio of 47 Spanish airports handled more than 200 million passengers in 2011, registering overall growth of +6% – a notable achievement against the current economic backdrop. José Manuel Vargas Gómez was appointed President & CEO of Aena in January 2012. He outlined his strategy to Ross Falconer.
ACI EUROPE’s Regional Airports’ Forum currently represents more than 350 airport members and it is entirely focused on the key issues for regional airports. Ross Falconer sat down with Thomas Langeland, Airport Director, Kristiansand Airport and Vice-Chair of the Regional Airports’ Forum; Armando Brunini, Managing Director, Bologna Airport; Robert Sinclair, CEO, Bristol Airport; and Jean-Michel Vernhes, Chairman of the Executive Board, Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, to talk through some of these issues ahead of the 5th ACI EUROPE Regional Airports’ Conference & Exhibition in Ljubljana.
Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President Responsible for Transport, assumed his current portfolio in February 2010, succeeding Antonio Tajani. He spoke to Airport Business about a range of issues, including the forthcoming Airport Package, capacity in the air and on the ground, the Single European Sky and aviation liberalisation. Ross Falconer reports.
Carrying more than 50 million passengers per year, easyJet is the UK’s largest airline and Europe’s fourth largest. Carolyn McCall became easyJet CEO on 1 July 2010. In a wide-ranging interview, following her keynote speech at this year’s ACI EUROPE Annual Congress, she expanded on subjects including her strategic vision for the future of the airline, aviation taxation and the airport-airline relationship. Ross Falconer reports.
Frankfurt Airport is Germany’s busiest airport and is among the world’s top 10 hubs. The airport celebrates its 75th anniversary this year – a year in which it will also, significantly, open the new Runway Northwest. Fraport is investing €7 billion in Frankfurt Airport in the period from 2007 to 2015 to sustain an ambitious strategy, as Dr Stefan Schulte, Chairman of the Executive Board, Fraport AG, explained to Ross Falconer.
The Schiphol story is one of success driven by innovation. The oldest airport in Europe, the fifth busiest airport in Europe and an important engine for the Dutch economy, Schiphol contributes around 1.5% of GDP. Ad Rutten, Executive Vice President & COO Schiphol Group, is in his second term as ACI EUROPE President. He spoke to Ross Falconer about the continuing evolution of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the challenges and opportunities facing Europe’s airports.
The division of the LFV Group was formalised on 1 April and has created two strong organisations with the aim of further developing the Swedish aviation sector. The newly established Swedavia manages, develops and promotes the 13 state-owned airports (three of which are in the process of being sold), while LFV is responsible for air navigation services. Torborg Chetkovich, Swedavia’s new CEO, outlined the airport operator’s vision to Ross Falconer.
The original goal of TAV Airports Holding was to operate 10 airports within 10 years, firmly establishing itself as the regional leader. Having achieved that objective, as Macedonia started operations in March 2010, its next target is to serve 100 million passengers annually by 2017. Sani Sener, President and CEO, outlined the TAV Airports strategic vision to Ross Falconer. Additional reporting by Robert O’Meara.
SEA Aeroporti di Milano and Aeroporti di Roma came together in October 2009, with the key objective to boost Italy’s economic growth. This goal will be driven by a period of collaboration that will provide significant new infrastructure. Ross Falconer spoke with Fabrizio Palenzona, chairman of assaeroporti, the Italian airport association and Chairman, Aeroporti di Roma and Giuseppe Bonomi, President and CEO, SEA Aeroporti di Milano.
Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) formally completed the £1.5 billion (€1.65bn) acquisition of London-Gatwick Airport in December 2009, with the promise of a new era of competition between London’s airports, more efficient operations and a better passenger experience. Stewart Wingate, the newly-appointed CEO, outlined the airport’s strategy to Ross Falconer.
The airport of Marseille-Provence, France’s third busiest airport outside Paris, is a notable success story amidst the current economic climate. While accumulated passenger traffic across Europe declined by -7.7% for the first nine months of the year, Marseille-Provence airport saw a +3.9% increase to almost five million passengers. The development of mp2, the airport’s low-cost terminal, is largely responsible for this success, as Pierre Regis, CEO, explained to Ross Falconer.
On 16 June, ACI EUROPE launched Airport Carbon Accreditation at its Annual Assembly in Manchester. Upon launch, the scheme secured more than 30 participating airports, representing 26% of European passenger traffic – a testament to how seriously European airports are responding to the issue of Climate Change, even in the midst of the worst trading conditions that the sector has ever seen.
Ross Falconer reports.
Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is responsible for the management, operation and development of Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports. The airports are of key strategic importance to the exporting economy of Ireland and despite the severe effects of the economic downturn, DAA is pressing ahead with an ambitious capital investment programme. Declan Collier, Chief Executive, outlined the company’s strategy to Ross Falconer.
In 2006, ACI EUROPE established the Small and Medium Size Airports Action Group (SMAG) with an agenda purely focusing on issues of topical interest to Small and Regional airports; its membership now totals 136 airports and five national airport associations. Ross Falconer sat down with Olle Sundin, Managing Director Regional Airports Division, LFV and incoming SMAG Chairman; Marcel Buelens, CEO, Brussels South Charleroi Airport; and Paolo Stradi, Managing Director, Trieste International Airport, ahead of the 2nd ACI EUROPE SMAG Conference & Exhibition in Linz.