Airports Council International (ACI) World plans to streamline its resources for small and emerging airports to foster their continued growth and sustainable development.
The streamlining of resources, including certain programs and services at a lower rate, follows the ACI World Resolution to support and assist small, emerging and regional airports, approved at the 32nd World Annual General Assembly. The resolution recognizes small and emerging airports’ positive externalities and financial challenges. Furthermore, it calls on governments and industry to support their capital and human resource development plans and facilitate their transition to renewable energy.
According to the 2021 ACI Airport Economics Report, it is estimated that as much as 90% of the world’s airports are categorized as small (serving five million passengers or less per annum). Additionally, it is estimated that 68% of airports globally operate at a net loss and that 97% of those loss-making airports handle fewer than one million passengers per annum.
Despite these challenges, the organization emphasized that the viability of small and emerging airports remains crucial to the development of local and global connectivity, cohesion and territorial equality, social and economic development, as well as the potential for growth of their individual regions – in turn, supporting many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, they are found to be intrinsically linked to the growth of the tourism sector. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism contributed 10.3% to global GDP in 2019.
The resources also include the long-standing ACI Fund, which continues to provide financial support for airports in developing nations for career development and capacity building. In addition to seminars and scholarships, the ACI Fund offers targeted assistance for ACI World safety and security reviews as well as accreditation programs.
Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director general of ACI World, said, “In many communities, small and emerging airports play a crucial role in the lives of millions of people – as employers, facilitators of tourism and trade, and even as key lifelines that support critical services. They also play an important role in feeding traffic into larger hub airports for onward journeys to other major national and international destinations. And as the largest segment of the ACI membership, ACI World is fully committed to ensuring that their needs and expectations are met, both on the global stage and in the development of tools that promote their excellence and sustainable growth.”
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