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Theme: Sustainability
Airport profile: Marrakech Menara
Special report: ACI Customer Experience Global Summit
Plus: IT innovation, Airport art & WBP news

Grab your hat!

Editor, Joe Bates, looks forward to the ACI Africa/ World Annual General Assembly in Marrakech and reflects on the ‘sustainability’ theme of this issue.

For someone that travelled abroad so often for so many years, I still find it hard to believe that the upcoming ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition, will be the first WAGA I have been able to attend since Hong Kong in April 2019.

Nobody, of course, could have predicted the COVID pandemic that caused the cancellation of the planned 2020 WAGA in Buenos Aires, Argentina, or the travel restrictions which meant that I couldn’t attend last year’s scaled down event in Cancún, Mexico.

And WAGA, of course, wasn’t the only industry event that I was unable to attend during this time, so I am especially looking forward to Marrakech and catching up with industry leaders, colleagues and friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since Hong Kong more than three years ago!

From a personal perspective, my lack of flying since 2019 has made me more excited about future trips, but also a little more apprehensive, as I am out of the habit of jumping on a plane every month. I suppose what I am trying to say is that pre-COVID, air travel was second nature to me as I knew what to expect, packed without even thinking about it, and could plan my airport arrival and departures with almost military precision. I virtually travelled on autopilot.

This was certainly not the case for me a few months ago when I went to Rome for ACI EUROPE’s Annual Congress & Exhibition, because out of practice, I had to write out a list of things to take so that I didn’t forget anything! I also couldn’t remember if I had to take my shoes off when I went through the security checkpoint at Heathrow and wasn’t 100% sure if it was necessary to show proof of COVID vaccination upon arrival in Italy.

Minor things, I know, but I think it just goes to show how much we used to take things like international air travel for granted. I also believe that my experience demonstrates just how important familiarity with processes and procedures are to making people feel at ease, particularly at often stressful places like the world’s airports.

The ‘sustainability’ theme of this issue is an important one, especially as the topic was high on the agenda at the 41st ICAO Triennial Assembly in Montréal and will be throughout the upcoming WAGA in Marrakech.

We turn the sustainability spotlight on a host of issues, which include updates on the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme; the importance of good waste management; and review the sustainability journey of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The section also looks at the challenges the industry faces in recruiting and holding on to staff, and we consider some of the big picture priorities due to be discussed at the 41st ICAO Triennial Assembly.

Elsewhere in the issue, we review the recent ACI Customer Experience Global Summit in Kraków; consider the benefits of automated cleaning robots and queue management systems; and marvel at some amazing digital art installations at Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C.

Our main airport interview is with Habiba Laklalech, the director general of Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA), who tells us more about the challenges and opportunities ahead for Marrakech Menara Airport and the country’s airport network.

I hope that all sounds good, and you can tell me about what features you found most interesting, and maybe suggest some future stories of your own, when we meet in Marrakech for the ACI Africa/ World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition!

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