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AIRPORT WORLD 2020, ISSUE 02

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In the spotlight: Dublin Airport?
Special report: Aerotropolis update?
Going green: Sustainable design & green initiatives?
Plus: ASQ winners, Retail & Security

Uncharted territory

Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the toughest start to a year the aviation industry has experienced in peace time and the need for some positivity in an uncertain world.


If I said we’d be here before I would be lying, as without doubt, the aviation industry and the entire world has never known a pandemic like COVID-19, which has literally stopped planes from flying, shut airports and effectively put life for everybody on hold until we see some green shoots of recovery.

ACI World, as you would expect, has been strong and consistent in its response to the global crisis, highlighting the economic and operational challenges facing airports, urging governments to do more to support aviation, and most recently issuing guidance to members on ‘airport IT best practice’ and ‘airside safety and operations’ during COVID-19.

Arguably, the most worrying of its messages to date was its April 1 warning that COVID-19 could wipe out 38% of passenger traffic and almost 50% of airport revenues in 2020.

In it, ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, said: “A drastic decline of such magnitude for the global airport industry represents an existential threat.

“A swift, effective and equitable economic policy response from governments is needed to protect millions of jobs, protect essential operations, and give the industry the greatest chance to weather the storm and recover quickly.

“The global airport industry has faced multi-billion-dollar losses already in the first quarter of 2020, but it is now predicted that the impact of COVID-19 will extend not only to the second quarter of 2020 but also the second half of the year.

“Most experts in the air transport industry agree that it may take at least 18 months to reach pre-crisis traffic levels, and the industry may not record pre-COVID-19 traffic volumes again before the end of 2021.

“A fair and equitable global economic policy response is required to safeguard essential airport operations, to protect millions of jobs worldwide, and to ensure the survival of the industry and lay the foundation for a fair recovery.”

Yep, the news isn’t great at the moment, and given the circumstances, it is quite understandable that many airports and their industry partners were preoccupied with the crisis and didn’t have time to write planned features for this issue of Airport World. Consequently, as a one-off, this issue doesn’t have a theme as it covers a wide range of topics and talking points.

So, the issue maybe small, but hopefully it’s also uplifting and informative as I don’t know about you, but I need all the positivity I can get at the moment!

The main features begin with an article about Dublin Airport, where managing director, Vincent Harrison, talks to us about everything from a record breaking 2019 for the Irish gateway, its 80th birthday celebrations, and the potential game changing impact of its new North Runway.

We also have features on sustainable airport design in the Asia-Pacific region; airport retail; what the future might hold for airport security; IT innovation; 2019’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) winners; and Part 2 of Dr John Kasarda’s airport city/aerotropolis update.

We also hear from ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, who provides her thoughts on the key role information technology will play during the COVID-19 crisis and some of the challenges airports face in managing their IT systems; cover human resources in our regular ‘People matters’ column; and discover the latest news from ACI’s World Business Partners.

If that’s not enough, our ‘Going green’ page makes a welcome return where we cover the sustainabilty initiatives of three North American airports – Québec City Jean Lesage (YQB), San Diego (SAN) and Vancouver (YVR).

I hope you enjoy this issue of your favourite airport magazine and I’m crossing my fingers that by the time we print the ‘Leadership’ themed next one in July – featuring a farewell article with Angela Gittens – the world will be in a far better place than it is right now.

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