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ACI: a need for USD2.4 trillion airport capital investment

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Various divisions of Airports Council International (ACI), the world representative body for airports, commonly call loudly for more expenditure on airport infrastructure, threatening future ‘denial of travel’ scenarios if existing capacity constraints are not alleviated. The most vocal typically are ACI North America and ACI Europe.

Now the parent organisation, ACI World, has weighed in by stating its case on global capital investments in airports, meaning how much is needed, and by when. It is USD2.4 trillion by 2040.

Interestingly though, an examination of a CAPA airport construction database which lists infrastructure projects for existing and new airports suggests that, allowing for postponements, the level of investment presently exceeds even ACI’s demands, on an annual average basis over the next five years.

Irrespective of that, ACI is right to highlight the needs of airports because they are in danger of being overlooked by governments and of being placed at the far end of the queue for support. There is scant evidence that any government ranks airports highly on its support list. Accordingly, ACI appears to have adopted a strategy to convince governments – and the private sector – to rally to their aid by unavoidably linking airport expansion to environmental sustainability.

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