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Airport infrastructure development must keep pace with air service growth

ACI World’s Director General speaks at IATA Aviation Day

Panama City, 10 September 2019 – Airports Council International (ACI) World – gathering with industry leaders from the aviation industry at the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Aviation Day in Panama – stressed the need for quality and timely airport infrastructure that keeps pace with the level of projected growth and interest of the traveling public.

Speaking on the panel “Maintaining Tocumen as the Hub of the Americas by maximizing its potential,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens discussed aviation’s largest opportunities and key challenges.

“Many airports are near, at, or even exceeding capacity which is causing congestion, affecting levels of service, and frustrating demand,” Angela Gittens said. “Latest ACI World data shows that, in 2018, Panama experienced +4.0% growth and welcomed more than 16 million passengers. Air service demand in Panama is forecasted to reach close to 40 million passengers by 2032 based on a compound annual growth rate of 6.5%.

“To meet this demand, governments have a responsibility to incentivize continuous investments in the airport sector. While ACI has a neutral position on airport ownership models, in situations where government spending cannot be relied upon, private investment has become an important vehicle for the development of infrastructure to accommodate air service demand. Indeed, 66% of traffic in LAC is managed by airports with private sector participation today.

“By accommodating demand, the economic and social benefits that aviation delivers can contribute to community and national economic vitality.”

Angela Gittens continued by stating the importance of stable, consistent and proportionate economic oversight in facilitating timely investment in capacity.

“Regulatory interventions should be kept at a minimum and must be cost-effective,” she said. “Interventions should also take full stock of the airlines’ position, especially when an airline has a dominant position at the airport. The regulator should understand that an incumbent may have an interest in reducing competition while the airport operator would have an interest in increasing competition, so agreement on master plans may not be possible.

“The bottom line is that aviation plays a vital role in the economic and social well-being of communities and local economies, providing jobs, contributing to GDPs and providing health and humanitarian aid, educational opportunities and improving overall quality of life. It is the responsibility of industry and government to help secure and extend such benefits by exploring and utilizing appropriate options for infrastructure.”

Notes for editors

  1. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2019, ACI serves 646 members, operating 1,960 airports in 176 countries.

Media contacts

Bojana Jeremic
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ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254

Sabrina Guerrieri
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ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200