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ACI World’s communications manager, Sabrina Guerrieri, reports on the update of the airport networks policy brief and the launch of two new reports on autonomous vehicles and systems.

ACI World has published an updated policy brief – Airport Networks and the Sustainability of Small Airports – which measures the significance of this management model at world level and identifies the main benefits to communities, airlines and the travelling public.

Notably, 55% of the world’s airports belong to airport networks and they handle an overall annual traffic volume of 3.7 billion passengers, which is 42% of global passenger traffic.

Airport networks support the operation of smaller airports which benefit airlines, passengers, and the communities they serve. This is important because 94% of loss-making airports around the world handle fewer than one million passengers – half of all small airports are operated by airport networks. A network approach also facilitates the sharing of best practices in customer experience among the network-member airports.

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, notes: “To support connectivity and the communities served by small airports, network operators should be given the flexibility to determine the most appropriate charging system to recover costs, generate appropriate returns for shareholders, and ensure sustainable operation of the smaller airports in the networks.”

The policy brief – available in Chinese and English – notes that airport owners can consider a wide range of management models to serve their specific business needs and local circumstances, including single-airport, airport systems, airport networks and airport groups.

Adding to ACI’s repertoire of guidance material, ACI World has also launched two Reports on autonomous vehicles and systems. First, The Autonomous Vehicles and Systems at Airports Report, that helps airports assess key opportunities for the application of autonomous vehicles at airports.

Several airports around the world have already facilitated testing of autonomous machines and vehicles in their operations. The report brings together information from these first attempts at integrating this new technology and uses it to gain a better understanding of the likely impact on aviation in the medium to long term.

ACI expects the report will prompt airport operators to engage with autonomous machine and vehicle manufacturers to see if they can benefit from early adoption of this technology and become fertile testing grounds for trials.

Autonomous vehicles and systems are a key technology being considered under the joint ACI and IATA New Experience Travel Technologies (NEXTT) initiative.

NEXTT is creating a common vision for the future of air transport, using technology to increase airport efficiency and provide another level of personalisation to the passenger experience.

The second is the The Autonomous Systems at Airports, Assessing Potential Security Threats and Risks Report, jointly developed with Arup. The report examines concerns related to the rise of autonomous vehicle technology.

Specifically, the intent of the report is to explore the emerging security vulnerabilities and potential security risks associated with the deployment of autonomous vehicles, systems and drones by airports. It considers how airports, designers and other members of the aviation community can introduce these technologies in a more informed manner with regard to potential security impacts.

“While the report presents possible threats and risks, it does not, at this stage, propose in detail how these might be mitigated,” notes Gittens.

“Security measures to manage the risk from autonomous vehicles should be discussed in co-operation between an airport and its local government and regulatory partners when considering their deployment. Discussion should also happen at an international level, where sharing of lessons learned, and best practices will be useful.”

The Arup Threat Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (TVRA) approach is used to identify scenarios for an airport, depending on their intended and actual deployment of such driverless vehicles on the ground and/or in the air.

And lastly, ACI World has also launched a new implementation guide for Computed Tomography – or CT – screening technology that can help airports improve efficiency and the passenger experience at security checkpoints.

The Advanced Cabin Baggage Screening / Computed Tomography (CT) Implementation Guide was developed with ACI’s Smart Security Management Group, which is comprised of some of the world’s most innovative airports, regulators and airlines. It highlights the key benefits of CT technology for the cabin baggage screening process.

The guide provides a comprehensive summary of best practices and suggested actions, from procurement to installation and operation, that airports should consider taking before and during the implementation of this new technology into their existing operations.

ACI World’s Smart Security programme identifies improvements that can be made to the screening process through a combination of existing and emerging technologies.

All publications can be found on ACI World’s website: https://aci.aero/

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