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In the spotlight: Leadership and COVID-19
Airport report: Salt Lake City
Cargo hub: Amsterdam Schiphol
Plus: Anaerobic digestion, robots & investing in airports

Leading the way

Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the ‘leadership’ theme of this issue, the traffic decimating impact of COVID-19 on aviation, and the industry’s efforts to turn the tide on the coronavirus.

In many ways it feels like 2020 is turning out to be the year of the unimaginable happening, with the world effectively paralysed by a deadly virus and the industry struggling to survive against the backdrop of lockdowns, border closures and new quarantine rules.

The dire situation has already led ACI World to warn that airports could lose at least 40% of their passengers and 50% of their revenues in 2020.

Things can surely only get better, and we maybe beginning to see the first signs of this happening with a number of international services resuming at airports across the world, and others appearing quite close to joining them.

There are, of course, still many obstacles to overcome before the industry can return to anything like it was before COVID-19, and you have a feeling that it could be very much the case of for every one step forward we take two steps back over the next year to 18 months.

After all, we are very much in unknown territory and in such an uncertain world, the need for good, and strong leadership, is possibly more important than ever before to help aviation, and indeed the world, get over COVID-19.

Unquestionably, ACI World has had a good leader for the last 12 years, so it is only fitting that in our last issue with Angela Gittens as director general of the association, we pay tribute to her by hearing from some of those that worked most closely with her during her tenure.

Our leadership themed section also includes articles about the the management qualities that will be needed to help airports survive and bounce back from the current crisis; and IT leadership.

It may not be in the themed section, but our main airport feature on Salt Lake City International Airport could well be as executive director, Bill Wyatt, talks to us about everything from the soon-to-be-finished first phase of SLC’s $4.1 billion Airport Redevelopment Program to the need to restore the public’s confidence in flying post COVID-19.

Our COVID-19 related articles include an overview feature from ICAO airport consultant, Inderjit Singh, who notes that global collaboration and co-operation will be needed to help ease and hasten the industry’s recovery from the coronavirus.

We take a closer look at a number of pioneering initiatives airports are undertaking to ensure that they comply with the new social distancing measures, new COVID-19 health requirements and other concerns passengers have expressed about the risks of travelling through airports.

In fact we take a deeper dive into some of these measures in an extended, COVID-19 focused World Business Partner (WBP) section, and also hear from NUCTECH’s chairman, president and CEO who tells us more about what he expects to happen over the next few years as a direct result of the pandemic.

We also consider what impact COVID-19 is likely to have on the investment appeal of airports in 2020 and beyond.

Elsewhere in this issue we learn more about how anaerobic digestion can help airports become more environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint; discover how a robot is helping Denver International Airport transform its Great Hall; and find out how cargo operations are faring at Amsterdam Schiphol.

This busy summer issue of your favourite airport magazine also features our regular ‘People matters’ column; and ACI news, which reports on ACI and IATA’s roadmap for the recovery of the aviation industry post COVID-19.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to say goodbye and good luck to outgoing ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, and a warm welcome to her successor, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, from whom we’ll be hearing a lot more from very soon.

Joe Bates

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