Press Releases

Investment in infrastructure and customer experience vital for airport industry

ACI World Director General speaks at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference

Denver, 4 March 2020 – Airports Council International (ACI) World today emphasized the need for infrastructure financing, revenue generation and customer experience excellence in sustaining a vibrant airport industry.

Moderating the Director’s Panel at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado, ACI World Director General Angela Gittens highlighted the infrastructure and financing challenges that airports in the US face as well as their possible solutions.

“Although nearly all US airports are owned by state or local governments, airports are required by the federal government to be as self-sustaining as possible, and thus receive little or no direct taxpayer support,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “This means that airports must operate like businesses – funding their operations from their revenue, and responsibly planning funding for very major improvement projects – which can often be very expensive.

“Modernizing the Passenger Facility Charge – which is capped at $4.50 – and maintaining a robust Airport Improvement Program would allow airports to do what they do best: serve their passengers with safe, secure, and sustainable facilities, as well as effectively plan for the future.

The capacity challenge is made all the more urgent when considering that passenger traffic in the US will reach 3 billion passengers by 2040 based on a projected growth rate of 2.3% per annum, and that US airports have over US$128 billion in capital needs through 2023 according to the ACI NA study: Terminally Challenged. As the title suggests, more than 56% of the needs are inside its aging terminals. In addition, the country’s airports have debt burden of $91.6 billion from past projects.

Angela Gittens went on to discuss the importance of value creation and the passenger experience.

“A key consideration is whether value is created for passengers and airlines relative to overall airport costs,” she said. “With growth in traffic, increasing globalization and heightened competition for tomorrow’s travelers, catering to the needs of our passengers will be pivotal to airports’ success.”

ACI’s Airports Service Quality suite of solutions provides airports with a 360-degree view of customer experience management. ACI helps close to 400 airports worldwide to manage and deliver the best experience for their customers.

“The bottom line is that aviation plays a vital role in the economic and social well-being of communities, providing jobs, contributing to GDPs and providing health and humanitarian aid, educational opportunities and improving overall quality of life,” Ms. Gittens said.

“It is the responsibility of industry and government to help secure and extend such benefits by exploring and utilizing appropriate options for financing, revenue generation and improving the customer experience.”

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 2020, ACI serves 668 members, operating 1979 airports in 176 countries.

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