The Airports Council International (ACI) Africa / World Annual General Assembly, Conference, and Exhibition (WAGA) has concluded with a series of industry resolutions, tackling the workforce and sustainability challenges for airports.
The resolution ‘Delivering the Long-Term Aspirational Goal’ acknowledges the challenges that face airports and governments in achieving their goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It calls on governments to support the global electrical grid transition, update the regulatory framework to accommodate the integration of alternative fuel sources at airports, and incentivize infrastructure development with appropriate financial mechanisms.
According to the organization, investment in airport infrastructure is necessary to meet current and future air travel demand and maximize airports’ contribution to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. For this reason, the resolution ‘Restoring Economic Equilibrium’ calls on governments to acknowledge the changed risk profile of airports in some jurisdictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to provide regulatory support to restore economic equilibrium for unrecovered costs, either as financial compensation or through future airport charges.
The resolution ‘Support and Assistance for Small, Emerging and Regional Airports’ seeks to reinforce engagement and support for this segment of ACI’s membership that has different needs and interests than larger hubs or more established operators. It calls on governments and the industry to support their capital and human resource development plans and facilitate their transition to renewable energy.
In recognition of the current labor shortages, the resolution ‘Creating a Strong and Diverse Airport Workforce’ calls on airports, regulators and ACI to take actions that will seek to re-establish the overall employer brand and attractiveness of the sector for its short-, medium- and long-term sustainability. It encourages all stakeholders to support the recruitment and retention of an aviation workforce to meet current and future demand. Actions include strengthened collaboration between airports, regulators and educational institutions to identify and develop innovative opportunities for common programs or initiatives to build a strong and diverse airport workforce.
ACI World also released the first edition of The Evolution of the Airport Workforce: Turning Challenges into Opportunities White Paper. The complimentary resource examines the context, trends and factors that have led to the current aviation workforce shortage, and provides recommendations to help airport operators, aviation stakeholders and governments build a stronger workforce that meets the needs of tomorrow and ensures the long-term sustainability and resilience of the aviation system. The white paper was designed to recognize regional, national and individual airport situations and the fact that aviation workforce shortages are not found in all regions while seeking to provide avenues that can help guide local discussions and the development of tailored action plans.
Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director general of ACI World, commented, “Each year the assembly considers resolutions on key priorities for airport operators that reflect the concerns and interests of ACI members. This year, the assembly unanimously adopted resolutions that will strengthen the sustainability and resilience of airports as essential players in the aviation ecosystem, and for the benefit of travelers and communities worldwide. These resolutions will help airports deliver the long-term net zero carbon goal; restore economic equilibrium; support small, emerging and regional airports; and build aviation’s workforce. On behalf of ACI, I would like to thank our members for providing a strong collective response to, and a commitment to act on, the pressing issues presented in ACI World’s Resolutions.”
At the event’s closing ceremony, it was announced that Aena would host the next WAGA, held in partnership with ACI Europe. The event will take place in June 2023 in Barcelona, Spain, and is expected to attract over 600 delegates including airport CEOs, regulators and dignitaries.
Maurici Lucena, chairman and CEO of Aena, said, “For Aena, it is a great honor to be the host of the WAGA next year in Barcelona. I am convinced that, from a professional point of view, the event will be a unique opportunity to reflect on the challenges we are facing at a turning point for our industry, and from a personal point of view, the event will be a magnificent occasion to discover the cultural, architectural and natural wonders of a city as attractive as Barcelona, my hometown.”