Press Releases

Airport networks contribute to sustainability of global communities

ACI World publishes updated policy brief on airport networks

Beijing, 6 November 2019 – Participating today in the 7th Global Friend Airport CEO Forum in Beijing, Airports Council International (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.

As acknowledged by the ICAO States at the 40th ICAO Assembly, airport networks can play a key role in ensuring the economic sustainability of regional airports.

The policy brief – which is published today 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.

Notably, 55% of all 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,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “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.

“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.

“A network approach also facilitates the sharing of best practices in customer experience among the network-member airports. ACI’s Airport Service Quality programme demonstrates that customers rate network-member airports as having high service quality levels.”

In most airport networks, larger airports provide support to smaller airports which allows them to remain operational, especially when they cannot count on public funding. As the newly revised ICAO Document 9562 states, “smaller airports may derive some benefit within a common ownership, regardless of whether it is public or private, which could include: greater access to capital markets; managerial and administrative efficiencies; use of economies of scale and scope associated with a network; bulk purchasing; and shared marketing.”

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.
  2. Download the updated Policy Brief – Airport Networks and the Sustainability of Small Airports.

Media contacts

Bojana Jeremic
Manager, External Relations and Special Events
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254

Sabrina Guerrieri
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200