Airports must diversify says ACI

THE Airports Council International (ACI) held its inaugural airport economics and finance conference in London.

Speaking to 170 attendees from 42 countries, Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World, reviewed the state of the industry and the global outlook for immediate and long-term demand prospects, while Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, highlighted the latest European traffic results and the urgent need for investing in future capacity at airports across Europe.

Gittens said: “Unfortunately, airports are not the comfortable ‘monopolies’ one sometimes hears about. They don’t get to watch the crisis from the sidelines. They have to pay back their debt, maintain their facilities and keep the highest levels of safety and security even with five, 10 or 15 per cent drops in traffic. During bad times, airports vie more than ever for a shrinking base of airline routes and frequencies. Airlines have no commitment to an airport, but an airport has a commitment to its community. Each airport must adopt solutions that meet its specific situation – there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

“Now is a good time to get back to basics, diversifying one’s risk and revenue structure and investing capital effectively to implement well-timed development programmes. Even in a downturn, perhaps especially in a downturn, airports must not shy away from their responsibility to continue as catalysts for local economic growth, employment and business development.”

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