INVESTMENT IN AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE VITAL TO AVOID CAPACITY CRUNCH
ACI World today emphasised the importance of investing in new and improved airport infrastructure to accommodate growth in traffic demand and maintain high levels of service expected by passengers.
Addressing a leadership network at CityAge: New York, under the theme ‘Build the Future’, ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens, stated that the recent renewal of New York’s airports is a good example of airport infrastructure investment needed to meet increasing capacity and evolving passenger expectations.
According to ACI Data, global passenger traffic is expected to exceed 20 billion by 2039 with a long-term Compounded Annual Growth Rate (2017-2040) of 4.1% and 2.7% for North America.
“Investing in new and improved infrastructure, as well as making the most of existing infrastructure, is the bedrock on which smooth airport operations and improved passenger experience is built,” said Gittens.
“Catering to the changing needs of passengers will be pivotal to airports’ success in an increasingly globalised and competitive environment, not least in New York and North America.
“Airports commitment to continuous service improvement is reflected in the ACI Airport Service Quality programme’s growth year over year.
“ASQ participating airports cover the entire world of air travel. North America has 55 participating airports, 37 of which are in the United States. John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark are all part of the ASQ family.”
The ACI Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme is the world’s leading benchmarking programme measuring passengers’ satisfaction whilst they are travelling through an airport.
It provides research tools and management information to help airports better understand passengers’ views and what they expect from their airport experience.
As airports continually work to modernise their infrastructure to improve the passenger experience and spur more airline competition, airports face unprecedented challenges in securing much needed financing.
Indeed, ACI has found that, at airports around the world, private investment has provided a viable solution to global airport infrastructure gap, although it should be applied appropriately with specific regard to the local situation.
“Globally, airport privatisation has become an important investment vehicle for the development of infrastructure to accommodate air service demand, to contribute to community and national economic vitality, and to enhance the customer passenger experience,” noted Gittens.
“It has been applied in important aviation markets including Europe, Australia, Brazil, China and India.
“In the United States, nearly all airports are owned by state or local governments and are required by the federal government to be as self-sustaining as possible, and thus receive little or no direct taxpayer support.
“Modernising the Passenger Facility Charge and increasing the robust Airport Improvement Program would be a crucial component of airport funding, allowing airports to utilise local resources to meet growing infrastructure needs and maintaining high levels of service for passengers.”
According to ACI’s Policy Brief: Creating Fertile Grounds for Private Investment in Airports, airports with private sector participation account for an estimated 14% of airports worldwide, handling over 40% of global traffic and investing 44% of global capital expenditure to develop both the aeronautical and non-aeronautical side of the business.