World in motion – ACI News
We report on the latest news from ACI World, including key resolutions announced at WAGA, and ACI EUROPE.
Riyadh to host WAGA 2024
Riyadh Airports Company will host the ACI Asia-Pacific/ACI World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition (WAGA) in Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from May 21-23, 2024.
ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “We are thrilled to be joining forces with ACI Asia-Pacific and Riyadh Airports Company to host WAGA 2024, the most important global gathering of airport leaders.
“The region is home to the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and to leading airports that are raising the bar on all fronts for travellers and communities. As we build a sustainable and resilient aviation ecosystem, our continued engagement with the global airport community and its relevant stakeholders remains the deciding factor in reaching our industry global targets.”
ACI Asia-Pacific’s director general, Stefano Baronci, said: “It’s indeed a proud moment for us as WAGA will be held in Riyadh next year. This is a significant meeting of global aviation leaders, and a great forum to debate current issues and possibilities in the aviation sector, as well as exploring innovative strategies for long-term success. We are excited to welcome aviation leaders from all over the world and make it a memorable experience for all.”
While Musad Aldaood, CEO of Riyadh Airports Company, enthused: “It is a proud moment for us to announce hosting the ACI Asia-Pacific/ACI World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition in Riyadh next year.
“Enthusiastically, we are excited to welcome aviation leaders from across the globe to ensure a memorable experience for all.
“This important convergence of global aviation authorities is a prime venue to address current challenges and explore opportunities in the aviation sector, as well as to investigate forward-thinking and explore innovative strategies for long-term success.”
Key resolutions agreed at WAGA
Members unanimously approved resolutions designed to promote Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and support Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices and combat cyber threats in aviation at the 33rd ACI World Annual General Assembly (WAGA) in Barcelona.
– Promoting SAF and supporting ESG practices
Recognising the need for collective action to deliver the long-term goal of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, the Resolution Leading through cleaner energy transition and robust ESG practices calls on ICAO and governments to work with all financial institutions to facilitate access to green finance for aviation and to stimulate the development of SAF. It urges governments to provide the necessary technical and economic support and required regulatory framework for supporting the airport sector energy transition.
Airports are called upon to consider adopting robust ESG practices according to their specific circumstances, engage with ACI in developing the Airport ESG Global Framework, and participate in global efforts to accelerate the deployment of SAF.
– Cyber threats in aviation
Recognising that aviation relies on interconnected systems and advanced technologies and that they may be vulnerable to cyber threats, the Resolution Affirming airport’s commitment to addressing the evolving cyber threats in aviation recognises the actions taken by airports and calls on all aviation stakeholders to strengthen their awareness and mitigation measures in this area.
The Resolution urges governments, international organisations, and relevant stakeholders to leverage the existing international standards and frameworks on information security and cybersecurity in the development of aviation cybersecurity frameworks, standards, and guidelines. It also calls on governments to implement the necessary measures to support the development of a skilled aviation cybersecurity workforce.
Official traffic statistics for 2022
The latest World Airport Traffic Dataset published by ACI World confirms the top 20 busiest airports in the world in 2022 and reveals airport passenger, cargo, and aircraft movement rankings for over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories.
The dataset’s key findings confirm total global passenger traffic for 2022 – surpassing 6.6 billion – the return of international traffic, and the prevalence of US airports in the top rankings.
ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “In the face of cost pressures and tight labour markets, the world’s airports continue to serve the public’s thirst to travel by air.
“Airports have once more proven their resiliency as reflected in the key findings from the ACI World Airport Traffic Dataset. As always, reliable data remains fundamental to our advocacy and development of timely airport guidance.
“Airports and aviation stakeholders must continue to focus wholeheartedly on building a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable air transport system fit to welcome the doubling of passengers that will travel through our doors in the next two decades.”
ACI collects airport traffic every year through its global network of airport operator members, investors, and aviation stakeholders. The dataset allows users to filter through accurate and reliable numbers that can be segmented on a regional, national, and airport level and by traffic type.
• Global total passengers surpassed 6.6 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 43.8% from 2021 or a recovery of 72.5% versus pre-pandemic result (2019).
• The top 20 airports for global passenger traffic represent 18% of global traffic (1.2 billion passengers).
• From the top 20 rankings, 10 airports are in the US. Almost all have significant domestic passenger shares (between 75%–95%).
Air cargo traffic
• Global air cargo volumes decreased by 6.7% year-over-year (-2.6% versus 2019), to close to 117 million tonnes in 2022. The decline can be attributed to the ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains.
• Air cargo traffic is more concentrated amongst the main airports: volumes in the top 20 represent around 42% (49.5 million metric tonnes) of the global volumes.
• Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport – home to Amazon Air’s primary US Hub and DHL Express’ Global Superhub for the Americas – witnessed the largest cargo volume growth (+16.8%) amongst the top 20 airports.
• Global aircraft movements were close to 85 million, representing a gain of 14.8% from 2021 results or a recovery at 82.4% from pre-pandemic levels.
• The top 20 airports represent 11.4% of global traffic (9.7 million movements).
• From the top 20 rankings, 13 airports are in the US.
Restoring global connectivity
The latest edition of ACI EUROPE’s Airport Industry Connectivity Report shows that air connectivity in 2023 is lagging behind the recovery of passenger volumes and remains 16% down on pre-pandemic levels.
It also reveals how post-COVID recovery patterns are impacting not just the aviation market, but also the passengers and communities for whom connectivity serves mobility needs and delivers significant economic and social benefits.
These post-COVID recovery patterns are shaping the connectivity performance of both national markets and individual airports, and they are driving structural changes with significant divergences between direct and indirect/hub connectivity.
ACI EUROPE also notes that these topline figures tell their own story, but beneath this lies significant divergences between national markets which essentially reflect the permanence of COVID-19 recovery patterns. In particular we see the importance of Leisure and VFR demand, the selective expansion of ultra-LCCs (ultra-Low Cost Carriers), and the relative retrenchment of FSCs (Full Service Carriers), along with the impact of the war in Ukraine.
Istanbul has this year replaced Amsterdam-Schiphol as the airport with the highest level of direct connectivity in Europe – moving up from the 5th position pre-pandemic. The Turkish hub has exceeded its pre-pandemic direct connectivity level by +9% and has increased it by a staggering +32% over the past 10 years – a performance largely driven by the growth of the network of Turkish Airlines. The still low penetration of LCCs at the airport points to its significant potential for further connectivity growth.
Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI EUROPE, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic, along with much increased geopolitical tensions – in particular the war in Ukraine – have clearly challenged the resilience of air connectivity.
“These are changes which appear to be systemic and quite possibly here to stay. Alongside this, the climate emergency is bringing the societal role and value of air connectivity into question. The formidable economic and social benefits of air connectivity need to go hand in glove with decarbonisation if we are to de-risk our collective futures.
“This way, the entire aviation sector is working relentlessly towards tangible progress, firmly committed to net zero air connectivity.”