Airports Council International (ACI World)
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Established in 1991, Airports Council International (ACI) is an industry association for airports worldwide. ACI represents airport interests and engages with government bodies and international aviation organisations such as the ICAO in the development of standards and policies. The council also provides support services to airport members, including training, development assistance, consultation, industry analysis and statistical data.
112 total articles
Following two conspicuous airline defections from regional airline associations in 2015 there must be questions about the role of industry bodies in future – Delta left A4A and IAG left AEA. The issue is further complicated when a European, cross-association grouping is set up to achieve a special purpose.
Whereas Delta's departure from A4A was over fees and ATC privatisation, IAG left AEA on broader policy grounds in a disagreement over liberalisation versus protectionism. IAG then became a member of ELFAA, previously the stronghold of LCCs. Adding further to the density of the manoeuvres, IAG then joined Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, easyJet and Ryanair in forming a new body, A4E, with a very focused agenda.
CAPA's Airlines in Transition (AIT) event in Dublin in Mar-2016 assembled a panel bringing together the heads of four of Europe's airline bodies (AEA, A4A, ELFAA and ERA), the head of its airport trade body (ACI Europe) and the experienced head of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation. Moderated by Kurt Knackstedt, President of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, the panel addressed the relevance and future of these associations.
Recently, Airports Council International (ACI), the airports global trade representative, observed that, “in many instances, airlines are not paying the cost of the airport infrastructure they use.
"In fact, some airlines are now pushing for even lower airport charges, arguing that such cuts would save passengers money and thereby boost employment opportunities.
"We believe such arguments are flawed and make overly optimistic assumptions of how directly passengers would benefit from such cost reductions.”
Airports are now deriving on average 62% of revenues from passengers, through retailing and other activities, and only 38% from the airlines they serve.
Aviation in Europe has a PR problem, which is not helped by the fragmentation of industry representation. Efforts to consolidate representation have so far not yielded material results. Europe's five largest airlines are now attempting to seek common ground, prompted by the European Commission's consultation on a new aviation policy. However, they are avoiding obvious sticking points such as protectionism with regard to competition from Gulf-based airlines. By contrast, airport representation is unified in ACI Europe, which has also responded to the Commission with a liberal set of policy proposals.
Recent changes in the membership of Europe's main airline representative bodies have seen ELFAA become its biggest airline association, measured by its members' passenger numbers, ending the previous hegemony of AEA. IAG's legacy airlines defected from AEA to ELFAA due to differences of opinion over market liberalisation.
There has never been a greater need for a single voice on issues such as taxation and the infrastructure provision (both on the ground and in the air). Aviation needs to argue its case and more effectively promote its benefits to the public.
Part 2 of this report on the impact of airports in the national economy addresses the massive losses - of jobs and GDP - if Europe's airport capacity is not increased in line with demand. For example, while EUROCONTROL projects 1.5 billion departures by 2035, capacity constraints at airports mean that there will be unfulfilled damand of nearly 225 million departures.
The complacency of assumptions that the status quo will be preserved is undermined by changes in the global aviation balance, so that other issues such as archaic ATM procedures, aviation taxes and the often high cost of operating, will also potentially cause extensive damage to long term competitiveness.
Then there are the multiple concerns being raised by regional governments and local economies; as major airports expand they can create magnets which challenge the roles of smaller airports. Nonetheless, the ACI report concludes that decisive action to support airport expansion will be needed if Europe is to get the full benefit of its own Aviation Mega Cities.
In Jan-2015 Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe) released a new study on the Economic Impact of European airports. It is billed as the first economic impact study to consider the direct, indirect, induced and catalytic economic impacts of airports across Europe. The study is published as the European Commission conducts a review of aviation policy and prepares a new Aviation Package.
The objective of the study was to demonstrate that airports and their associated aviation partners are not just providing a service to other industries and the travelling public but that they are in fact a key driver and facilitator of economic growth and prosperity in today’s globalised world. The study and ACI document are considered within the context of a real life impassioned debate taking place in the UK right now concerning the relative value of regional airports, and of air connectivity, to trade.
According to Airports Council North America (ACI-NA), which completed a Capital Needs Survey last year, US airports need to complete USD71.3 billion worth of essential infrastructure projects before 2017. Just over half of this investment is to keep pace with demand and facilitate an increase in the utilisation of larger aircraft; the remaining funds are required for the rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure.
And that is before the addition of new runways and terminals and before the country even thinks about building any new airports of significance (there hasn’t been one since 1995). But with the government still strapped for cash, where is the money coming from?
Privatisation of the airports system has still not caught on in almost 20 years, but the public-private-partnership (PPP) could be the answer - as it has been in other parts of the world.