Civil Aviation International AVSEC Standard and Recommended Practices Conferences – Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World

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Civil Aviation International AVSEC Standard and Recommended Practices
Mexico City, Mexico
16 March 2018
Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World
Buenos dias a todos. My thanks to ASA for inviting me here to one of my favorite places, Mexico City.

I see many important decision makers here or represented here in this room. I congratulate you for the work you’ve done in making Mexico a role model for the world of aviation. I applaud the commitment the policy makers have shown to establish regulatory frameworks to enhance the vitality of the Mexican economy and in the interests of the passengers and shippers who depend on the aviation system.

Today, I’d like to put in context what aviation does for the world’s economies and talk about what needs to continue, or start, to keep those benefits flowing. Certainly, we in industry, in cooperation and collaboration with governments, need to keep the system safe and secure, we need to be sure it is sustainable, with respect to infrastructure to accommodate the growing demand for air service and with respect to environmental stewardship and resilience in the face of climate change impacts.

So: let’s start with the benefits of aviation, or, why do we bother doing what we do? Aviation is essential to the economic development of cities, countries and regions everywhere, but governments can only optimize its benefits for their citizens and businesses by addressing the sector’s infrastructure and resource needs in their national development strategies. The new joint ICAO/Industry Aviation Benefits Report that ACI contributed to last year explains in detail how well-supported air transport capabilities in cities, States and regions contribute to economic and social wellbeing. Globally, Aviation supports 62.6million jobs and generates 3 1/2 per cent of global GDP with its $2.7 trillion economic impact.

For the Latin-America/Caribbean region, aviation supports 5.2 million jobs and contributes 167 billion dollars to the Region’s GDP.

In 2017, worldwide airports welcomed over 8.2 billion travelers, a 6% increase over the year before and 120 million tonnes of freight which finally rebounded from the effects of the recession with growth of almost 8%.

The growth in Mexico has been even stronger than worldwide growth in traffic, with almost 11% in 2016 and Mexico City became the busiest passenger airport in the region, ahead of Sao Paolo’s Guarulhos Airport. Mexico is the Region’s second largest and fastest growing aviation market, with over 20% of the passenger traffic and aircraft movements.

For the country as a whole in 2016, total passenger traffic in Mexico accounted for 125 million travelers – I don’t have the final figures yet for 2017. ACI forecasts that, by 2026, at a 5.9% average annual growth rate, the country’s airports will be asked to accommodate 298 million travelers. For cargo, Mexico is the second largest in the Region with 1.2 million metric tonnes in 2016. And it’s no coincidence that Mexico is forecast to become one of the top ten economies of the world by 2050, ahead of Japan, Germany and the UK.

The current and forecasted growth in traffic is good news for the economic and social well-being of citizens and residents but does pose challenges to airports and the government. We know we could not reach the high level of air transportation demand without the strong record of safety and security the aviation sector has achieved, and this has to continue.

ACI continues to advocate for effective and efficient aviation security policies and practices that among other things, promote a common-sense approach to security though close cooperation with State, regulators and at ICAO (OACI). In particular, we stress that standards and recommended practices at global and national level be flexible and outcomes-focused supported by close collaboration and information sharing between regulators and airports. Clearly, the safety and security of the aviation system and the traveling public is a shared priority for all industry stakeholders. With the current global security climate, and the repeated occurrence of terrorist threats and incidents, governments and industry remain challenged. In 2016, the United Nations (UN) Security Council called upon OACI, States and industry to comply with their treaty obligations and international responsibilities as they relate to aviation security.

To address this, OACI’s Global Aviation Security Plan, the GASeP, advocates for effective, risk-based measures that are assessed regularly to reflect the evolving threat picture; ensuring that measures are effectively implemented on a sustainable basis; that appropriate resources are allocated, that a culture of security is promoted, and that effective national oversight of aviation security systems is established.

It provides the foundation for States, industry, stakeholders and OACI to work together with the shared and common goal of enhancing aviation security worldwide.

The GASeP lists five key priority outcomes, namely:

  • enhancing risk awareness and response;
  • developing security culture and human capability;
  • improving technological resources and innovation;
  • improving oversight and quality assurance; and
  • increasing cooperation and support.

We all have a role to play in implementation of the GASeP. ACI and the airport community stand ready to help:

People often talk about balancing security and facilitation, but for the future stability of the industry we need to address both sides of the equation – it’s not a balance but making both of those elements work together for an effective and efficient security regime. We work closely with OACI to provide input to their Standards and Recommended Practices and guidance material; our World and Regional Standing Committees of subject matter experts from our member airports contribute by giving the industry the benefit of their practical operational experience.

Through our ACI Security Committee, we continue to share best practices and outreach to our members. For example, next month we will publish our new landside security handbook which will be a comprehensive guide to help airports understand the risks, design appropriate measures, facilitate passenger flows and implement a security culture in their facilities.

We have developed additional security-related training courses. In collaboration with OACI, we have a joint course on Management of Airport Security. We also have a course on Airport Security Operations and one on Airport Security Quality Management and, with those three courses, one can now earn a diploma in security. And later this year we will have an e-learning certificate program available.

We continue to strive for new solutions through the joint ACI/IATA Smart Security Programme where we facilitate the piloting of new technology, new processing regimens and promote risk-based protocols. The programme envisions a future where passengers proceed through security checkpoints with minimal inconvenience, where security resources are allocated based on risk, and where airport facilities are optimized, thus contributing toward an improved journey from curb to airside. Smart Security is overseen by a Management Group that consists of equal numbers of government regulators, airports and airlines. In fact, AeroMexico has a representative sitting on the Committee.

To date, Smart Security pilots have demonstrated improvements in the passenger security screening process.

For instance, in Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (known as CATSA) implemented a pilot project called CATSA Plus. The new concept combines the latest equipment, technology and processes that had been successfully tested at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. This includes parallel divestment so that more than one person can divest on the same belt at the same time, continuous belt movement, automated item rejection, conveniently-located repack tables and Central Image Processing. It has been deployed at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal international airports with more airports coming on line this year and next.

In the U.S., Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Los Angeles International, McCarran International in Las Vegas, Chicago O’Hare International and John F. Kennedy International also implemented smart security pilots. Initiatives include automated screening lanes, Central Image Processing, queuing management, explosive detection dogs and more.

It goes without saying that airports, airlines, authorities and service providers all have a role to play in making the screening process more effective, efficient and pleasant for the passenger. Smart Security brings these stakeholders together with the shared goal of transforming the security checkpoint for the benefit of all the traveling public. With the increase of passenger traffic at Mexican airports, it is the way to go forward.

To help broaden awareness, the Programme is developing an e-learning programme. The online programme will be made available to airports and screening authorities through 7 different modules that will cover the various Smart Security Guidance Material. The Smart Security team recently released an information paper of Explosive Detection Systems based on industry insights from the Smart Security Management Group. The team looks to publish more information papers on relevant topics to further propagate lessons learned and best practices.

And we have officially started an Airport Excellence (APEX) in Security Programme. This is a sister to the successful APEX in Safety programme, with which some of you are familiar. APEX draws upon the community of airports helping each other. It provides a peer to peer review of airport security, bringing together the airport community to share best practices and expert views of seasoned practitioners from airports around the world, based on OACI standards and ACI best practices. It plays a key role in helping airports understand where they can improve, in terms of implementing security standards and improving operational efficiency and the passenger experience.

APEX in security can help airports in specific areas of emphasis or look at the entire spectrum of security processes. For example, an airport may ask a team to focus on landside security, infrastructure, screening processes or perimeter protection or may focus on human factors including procedures, quality management, training and security culture, or all of the above.

We would encourage all airports to take part in APEX in security, either as a host, to benefit from expert global perspectives and advice, or as a security partner, to provide expertise to others and experience other operations. Or both. We also work with security regulatory authorities to support and facilitate participation in the APEX programme and have secured funding support from the European Union to underwrite reviews. The time of the experts from ACI and other airports is donated free of charge – the host airport pays for their travel, meals and accommodations.

We all agree that more work needs to be done, on implementation of standards, training, quality control, security culture and information sharing. ACI will continue to work with your government, OACI globally and regionally, and with national regulators to help contribute to the strengthening of global aviation.

ACI has a broad mandate which includes leadership at the international level for matters pertaining to aviation and global trade. This requires collaboration with various stakeholders, international partners, the private sector and the public. The effectiveness of these relationships affects the work of our organization and is key not only to successful advancement of its policy and program agenda, but also to the achievement of our corporate objectives.

Together, I am confident that we can continue work toward a common goal of positioning airports, regardless of their size and location, to continue innovating, competing, attracting private and public investments, while moving passengers and goods efficiently, safely and securely.

The development of the Aviation industry is symbiotic – we need governments to provide the right regulatory environment in which the industry can thrive: liberalization; a well-managed air navigation system; reliable and safe air carriers; and safe, secure and efficient airports that can accommodate the demand for air service. We have to use and develop our infrastructure intelligently, and we have to practice sound environmental stewardship.

In particular, the challenge of meeting the increasing demand also implies optimizing the use of existing infrastructure. With respect to this, the local legislation in Mexico on slots has proven to be supportive of a stricter use-it-or-lose it rule (85-15) than the one proposed in the World Slots Guidelines, by taking into account the need to very efficiently use the scarce and valuable resource allocated for free to the airlines.

Despite the important role played by the World Slot Guidelines to ensure a level of consistency at global level in the slot allocation system, the increasing level of congestion of airports and the fundamental changes in the aviation industry call for a wider discussion about alternative methods to allocate slots. With this objective in mind, the Strategic Review of the World Slot Guidelines engaging ACI with IATA and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group was started.

This was an ACI initiative at the 39th ICAO Assembly in October 2016 and represents a first global test to improve the global slot allocation process in a fully inclusive manner. It is still early to draw some conclusion of this exercise.

However, one point is clear: ACI works to promote a paradigm change of the current allocation system whereby airport operators must play a leading role in the efficient allocation of slots to airlines as they are best placed to define airport capacity for runways, with respect to aircraft movements, aprons with respect to aircraft parking stands, and terminal facilities. This should be done in consultation with air traffic management and other appropriate stakeholders.

Indeed, the basic principles of airport coordination included in today’s World Slot Guidelines were developed in the mid-70s with only minor changes over the years. At the time of the development of these guidelines, international air traffic was dominated by so-called “flag carriers” that were wholly or mostly government-owned. Most airports were government- owned as well and were regarded as public infrastructure. The interests were solely focused on the benefits of the national airline. Therefore, the principles for the allocation of scarce airport resources were developed by publicly owned airlines under the umbrella of IATA, while the public interest and influence was safeguarded by national governments’ participation in the ownership of the air carriers.

This setting has completely changed. Slots are now used by private companies to withhold access scarce resources from other private companies sometimes to the detriment of the flying public and the needs and interests of the community served by the airport. Airports have played little if any role in most countries in managing the use of the infrastructure they have to finance and operate. When that infrastructure is not used to its optimal capacity, the community loses air service, the airport spends money unnecessarily in expanded infrastructure and the market gets very distorted. The system has to change with the times.

Now, with respect to airport ownership, the 100% public ownership model continues to be predominant. But that varies widely by Region. Europe has the highest amount of private sector involvement with 75% of the passenger traffic handled by fully privatized airports or public-private partnerships (PPPs). The Latin America-Caribbean Region comes in second with about 60% of its passenger traffic handled by airports with some form of private sector participation – some153 airports.

Indeed, Mexico led the way in this Region with a model for private sector involvement and a network approach to ensuring that the entire country can achieve the benefits that aviation brings. A wise mix of public and private ownership airport has been a success story for the Government, the public, the investors and the air carriers. The airport network model has ensured an adequate level of connectivity and gives smaller airports in more remote communities the opportunity to share in the success of larger airports in well-developed communities. Further, Mexico applies the dual till system method which has proven to be a success in that it incentivizes airport investors to continue to finance airport investment.

And the airport customers have spoken about that success. ACI operates a global customer survey and benchmarking service. In this program, ACI produces a survey that asks the same questions to passengers everywhere in the world, in some 46 local languages. The questionnaire is handed to the passenger while they are still at the airport and asks about the experience they have just had as they went through the multiple touchpoints of the journey. ACI then performs a rigorous quality check on the survey process and tabulates the results. It is the only global benchmarking program that measures passenger satisfaction on the day of travel. We have ten Mexican airports that participate in the program, called Airport Service Quality, or ASQ for short and I’m pleased to reveal that Los Cabos (SJD), Mazatlán (MZT), and Cancun (CUN) were among the winners, rated among the top three by their own passengers.

This phenomenon reflects the increasingly competitive airport industry operating environment, where continuous service improvement is a key ingredient in business performance.

I will be honored to hand out the recognition at the ASQ Awards Ceremony that will be held during our first Customer Excellence Global Summit, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada this 10-13 September.

The Mexican approach to its airport system has also paid dividends in terms of environmental stewardship. ACI encourages you to continue to work together to deliver a robust climate change response from the aviation sector. Environmental compliance and sustainability of the overall project is a requirement for many financing sources of airport infrastructure development.

We were glad to hear that the Mexican Government decided to raise $4 billion in green bonds to fund the development of the new international airport in Mexico City, a regional hub that is expected to become Latin America’s largest airport and which arguably is the most important airport project in the Americas. The airport is expected to comply with rigorous environmental criteria and would be a yet another exemplar of Mexico leading the way.

Green bonds are an excellent way to secure large amounts of capital to support environmental investments. They are well suited for large-scale sustainability airport projects.

ACI encourages its members to measure the efforts they make to improve local air quality and to reduce noise impacts. Through close cooperation with the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, or CAEP, ACI has collaborated on the development of Annex 16, Volumes I, II and III, which provides Standards and Recommended Practices for aircraft noise, local air quality as well as CO2 emissions.

In addition, we have contributed to ICAO guidance manuals, including the Airport Planning Manual; Part II, the Airport Air Quality Manual; and the ICAO Balanced Approach which assist our Members worldwide on best practices of managing Greenhouse gas emissions, local pollutants, noise and, generally, designing and planning their airports with sound environmental stewardship as a priority.

For one, in the arena of combatting climate change, we can help measure the efforts of Mexican airports in reducing their emissions through the ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation Program. Mexico now has eleven airports that have been certified in the Programme.

In fact, Tijuana International Airport recently earned its Accreditation and I encourage other Mexican airports to follow suit. The Program recognizes airports addressing their CO2 emissions in a variety of ways, from working with airlines and air traffic management to reduce aircraft taxi times and implement green landing processes, to becoming carbon neutral by offsetting their remaining emissions.

As a complement to the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program, ACI also offers two tools that help airports improve their carbon footprint:

One is the Airport Carbon Emission Reporting Tool, known as ACERT, version 5.0. It’s a free application, the initial version of which was given to ACI by Transport Canada. Airports can use it to measure their CO2 emissions, and progressively plan their emission reductions, even if they don’t have professional environmental engineers on staff. An airport’s maintenance or operations staff can enter the data and the application will calculate the emissions.    

The second tool that was just developed by one of our Members is the ACI Aircraft Ground Energy Simulator (AGES). This calculates the environmental and economic benefits of replacing aircraft Auxiliary Power Units with mobile or stationary systems during aircraft ground time at the airport.

In addition, we are about to launch a Green House Gas Manual that will provide guidance for airport operators wishing to manage all of their Greenhouse gas emissions.

As you know, the Aviation industry has the potential to be generators of value for many different stakeholders, from airports and airlines to wider economies and communities. But for aviation to continue being a generator of value, our continued collaboration to overcome the challenges of growth is necessary.

I trust that today’s conference will help us all to achieve these goals. Again, I applaud all of you for having implemented many of the measures that helped – and will continue to benefit – Mexicans and the aviation sector.

The growth of air traffic requires significant infrastructure development worldwide and this in turn poses economic and financial challenges for the sector. There is no doubt that the demand is there, and there is a willingness on the part of the airports industry to provide the necessary infrastructure. But, airports need to be able to secure sufficient funding to cover their aeronautical costs and finance their development in the long run. For that, I take this opportunity to invite you to the ACI 10th Annual Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition in London on 9-11 April. The conference will stimulate discussion on how airports meet their financial challenges in the face of this unusual combination of buoyancy and uncertainty that we are experiencing of late.

Apart from this, I have also stressed that airport operators consider that slots should be allocated to promote efficiency in use of the capacity of the infrastructure that they build, which relates to issues such as destinations served, aircraft seat capacity, competition, delays to aircraft and/or level of service in terminals. ACI is supportive of all measures that can improve the efficient use of limited airport capacity to the benefit of the community, airlines and airports.

Finally, Security is everybody’s business. Collaborating with domestic and international partners will help you protect Mexico and its allies from new, rapidly evolving threats and challenges to national security, while balancing the need for supporting economic growth and the protection of the aviation and airport sector.

Given the increasingly complex threat environment in the world, it is important that we are prepared to address a wide range of aviation-related security issues.

I urge you to make most of this conference and to leave here with new ideas, revitalized enthusiasm, and a renewed determination for new and greater achievements, and most importantly, decisions and concrete actions.

The knowledge that we exchange, the partnerships we forge and the discussions we have today will help us to build and sustain a safe and secure Mexican air transportation with healthy airports that serve the traveling public. I encourage you to continue working together on technology, security, operational and policy advancements.

In closing, I commit that ACI will continue to make its contributions through capacity building, assistance, and the pursuit of innovation. Governments cannot act alone. They need strong partnerships. They need our expertise and cooperation.

I would like to thank all of you for your longstanding trust and engagement towards a more resilient and sustainable Mexican airport industry.

Once again, I applaud Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares for hosting this event and for providing such excellent networking and discussion opportunities. The exchanges we have today will strengthen both Mexico’s and the world’s airport community tomorrow for the benefit of passengers and shippers.

Have a great Conference and I look forward to answering to your questions about what ACI World can do for you in order to maintain Mexico’s leadership status in the global aviation industry. Thank you.