Last month saw ACI put emphasis on the importance of making investments in airport infrastructure around the world to strengthen the ability to accommodate rising flight passenger traffic, passenger expectations and experience and continue to meet increasing mandatory safety, data and security requirements.
Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World said, â€˜Investing in new and improved infrastructure, as well as making the most of existing infrastructure, is the bedrock on which smooth airport operations and improved passenger experience is built.â€™
With flight passenger traffic numbers expected to reach more than 20 billion by 2039 (Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 4.1%), there has never been a more critical need to invest in airport infrastructure if global airports are to withstand the challenges and pressures that they will inevitably face under current systems and processes.
Airports turning to private investors
The ACI report highlighted that it found a viable solution at some airports with private investments to â€˜plug the gapâ€™ in airport infrastructure, as Gittens further emphasised when she said, â€˜Globally, airport privatisation has become an important investment vehicle for the development of infrastructure to accommodate air service demand, to contribute to community and national economic vitality, and to enhance the customer passenger experience. It has been applied in important aviation markets including Europe, Australia, Brazil, China and India.â€™
Privatization in the US is not as common, with almost all airports being state- or local-government owned. Most airports must be self-sustaining and are on their own when it comes to financing, largely.
The ACI made recommendations about how best to improve investment by taking a fresh look at the Passenger Facility Charge and strengthening the Airport Improvement Program, which is thought could provide new opportunities to allow airports to work with local resources to improve infrastructure and maintain high service levels.
Of course, there will be global differences, but the world is also shrinking fast in terms of connectivity. Both national and regional investment will be necessary to enable airports of all sizes to cope with maximum demand over the next 20 years.
Utilizing current technology to reinforce airport infrastructure on a global scale
Gittens comments were further reinforced by the President of the ICAO, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, who spoke recently at the Global Aviation Investment Summit in Dubai. He noted that the countries that will realise the largest benefits from aviationâ€™s growing opportunities and connectivity will be those which make the investments needed to strengthen airport infrastructure in terms of updating current technology and systems or utilizing existing technology with next-generation products and systems integration.
The latest in airport infrastructure solutions use systems integration to powerful effect, utilizing existing airport technology and hardware and applying integrable solutions to centralize operational processes. When infrastructure is seamlessly connected, comprehensive visibility is achieved, and processes can be effectively streamlined.
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