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Theme: Investing in airports
Airport profile: Singapore Changi
Review: ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly
Plus: Asset management & Cargo security

Time for reflection

Airport World editor, Joe Bates, considers the end of another eventful year for the world’s airports and the ‘investing in airports’ theme of this issue.

It’s human nature to remember the good times and to try and put the less than happy ones to the back of your mind, and typically this scenario peaks around Christmas and the New Year when we look back at the 12 months that have just unfolded and look forward to the year ahead.

In many ways the end of one year and the start of another brings closure to what has happened, and sets us up nicely for the next period in our lives and all the opportunities and challenges that it will bring.

And while from aviation’s perspective it is a little too early to draw closure on the global pandemic – China recorded its highest ever number of daily COVID cases on November 30 – there is no denying that 2022 has been kinder to the bulk of the world’s airports in terms of their traffic recovery.

Indeed, the continued uptick in passenger numbers are in line with ACI World’s forecast that the industry will fully recover from COVID in the second half of 2024, the bounce back being led by global domestic passenger traffic, which is expected to reach 2019 levels in late 2023.

Another sign that we have turned the corner with COVID is provided by the results of ACI’s ASQ Global Traveller Survey, which reveals the highest intention to travel by passengers since the beginning of the pandemic. Specifically, this year’s survey highlighed that:

  • 76% of pre-pandemic travellers were planning to travel in 2021-2022; with 68% of them actually actioning those plans.
  • 86% of respondents are planning to travel by air in the year to come. The removal or loosening of many barriers and crisis measures clearly contributed to these results.
  • Travellers’ perceptions of air travel, particularly their negative concerns, have shifted. Travellers are mainly concerned about the increased costs (77%) and complexity (75%) related to air travel.

Commenting on the survey results, ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “It’s clear from the ASQ 2022 Global Traveller Survey that passengers have a high intention to travel and have confidence in the industry to provide a safe environment.

“While COVID-19 variants remain a concern for travellers, this year’s report provides new insights to understand current passenger expectations, refine their airport journey, and ensure that their needs are met. This third edition of the survey will drive the customer-centric approach the industry needs to take – by listening to travellers and continuously improving.”

Arguably, the host of new infrastructure development projects announced in the final quarter of 2022 and covered on pages 14-16 of this issue is another sign of the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.

‘Investing in airports’ is actually the theme of this issue, so in addition to shining the spotlight on new projects at Chicago O’Hare, Brisbane, Macau, Riyadh and Central Poland; we learn about the airport investment strategy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and ponder where the public-private partnership (PPP or P3) market is heading post-COVID.

The themed section also includes a design feature about the planned transformation and expansion of Fukuoka Airport’s international terminal; and Avports’ connectivity and development strategy for Connecticut’s Tweed New Haven Airport.

Elsewhere in the issue, we have a comprehensive review of October’s ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition in Marrakech and features on asset management; cargo security; maintenance and operations; and sustainability.

Our main airport feature is on Singapore Changi and we round the issue out with the thoughts of ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira; our regular ‘people matters’ column; and World Business Partner (WBP) news.

That’s all from us for 2022, folks! I look forward to 2023 and once again bringing you all the news, views and developments from this great and exciting industry of ours.