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Theme: Passenger facilitation
Airport reports: GAP & San Diego
Interviewed: ACI-NA’s Kevin Burke
Plus: Investing in Lima & Vienna’s airport city

Time to Fly?

Editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the continued struggles of international traffic and some of the operational challenges facing airports in this ‘passenger facilitation’ themed issue.

The Olympics without crowds, still significantly fewer international flights globally than two years ago and staycation holidays probably tells you all you need to know about the state of international travel in early August 2021, although the overall picture is better than a few months ago and is expected to further improve during the rest of the year.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the phrase ‘staycation’, I refer to the new media buzzword to describe the record number of people choosing to holiday in their own country this year because of the risks and hassles involved in travelling internationally.

While so many people staying at home may be positive for domestic travel and national economies, it does little to help those airports and airlines dependent on international travel, and only serves to prolong the time it will take aviation to recover from the global pandemic.

The good news, though, is that international travel is at last beginning to open up again for many countries. The UK, for example, on August 2 scrapped its quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated people from the US and the EU when arriving from ‘amber’ list countries.

Naturally, all returning international services are most welcome and provide further evidence that the world’s airports should start to begin gearing up for the gradual increase in passenger traffic in what is left of 2021.

For some this will mean taking furloughed staff back on to cope with the anticipated rise in demand. While others may reopen facilities that haven’t been used for some time, such as international gates, terminals and retail/F&B facilities in international terminals and concourses.

All, of course, will remain highly focused on ensuring that they provide COVID safe and secure environments for both passengers and staff.

The ever-increasing number of COVID testing clinics and laboratories being set up at airports is one of the issues we cover in this ‘passenger facilitation’ themed edition of Airport World.

The section also contains a special report on airport lounges; the creation of ‘walkthrough airports’; the passenger friendly features in Orlando International Airport’s planned new South Terminal C; and plans to transform the passenger experience at Kansai International Airport.

Elsewhere in the issue, ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, considers some of the economic, sustainability and capacity challenges that will face airports long after COVID has gone. In the second of a series of articles looking at the pandemic’s impact on different regions, ACI-NA’s president and CEO, Kevin Burke, updates us on how the US and Canada’s airports are faring.

Our main airport interviews are with Raúl Revuelta Musalem, CEO of Mexico’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP), and Kimberly Becker, the president and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, operator of San Diego International Airport.

Both have interesting stories of growth and development to tell despite today’s difficult times, and in San Diego’s case some capacity constraining challenges to overcome such as a single runway, night curfew and little room to expand on its compact 660-acre site.

We also turn the spotlight on Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport and discover that operator, Lima Airport Partners (LAP), has high hopes for the Peruvian gateway. Another gateway with big plans is Vienna International Airport, which has quietly gone about building its very own airport city over the last few years.

We round out the August/September edition with an extended four-page World Business Partner (WBP) section and our regular People matters column.

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