Dear Delegates, Welcome to Airport Council International’s (ACI) 10th Annual Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition, returning to London for the fifth time in as many years and organized in cooperation with the World Bank for the fourth year running.
We reconvene at a time of preoccupations over the rise of economic protectionism in advanced economies, but also a time of robust growth in global trade and air transport demand. Marching to the beat of its own drum, air transport demand continues to post annual growth rates in excess of 6%. In particular, international travel and tourism remain irrepressible in the face of the geopolitical risks that persist in certain parts of the world.
We witness the growing disconnect between global GDP growth and passenger traffic growth. Many of the factors behind this are microeconomic in nature and are directly related to industry dynamics. For instance, the increased presence of low-cost carriers has fuelled a higher propensity to travel in advanced economies, challenging other modes of transportation, even in regions with extensive land transport infrastructure, like Europe. Meanwhile, emerging markets are increasingly becoming the engines of growth for the global aviation market.
The growth of air traffic requires significant infrastructure development and poses economic challenges for the sector. Airports must secure sufficient funding to cover their aeronautical costs and finance their development in the long run. The conference will trigger a discussion on which guidance and tools can best calibrate economic oversight, whenever needed, proportionally to the market realities that airports face, and how to ensure that airports are permitted to operate under the ownership and management models that best fit their specific circumstances—either individually managed or part of a network.
The conference will cover the full range of airport finance and economic issues, airport competition dynamics and will feature senior experts from different regions of the world who will share their expertise on air traffic forecasting, a crucial tool for planning, and a matter of due diligence by investor and stakeholders to develop the aeronautical business.
And, against the background of the Strategic Review of the World Slot Guidelines that will see for the first time ever, airport operators, airlines and airport coordinators engaged in modernizing the World Slot Guidelines, different perspectives on the current slot allocation system will be shared, considering the substantial economic and operational value of slots at increasingly congested airports.
Ahead of the conference, the ACI-World Bank Annual Aviation Symposium will provide expert delineation of the current and emerging risks and opportunities of airport Public Private Partnerships.
We look forward to two very productive days of learning, sharing and networking. The ideas we discuss here and the partnerships we forge will help shape an economically sustainable future for our industry.
Thank you for attending this year’s ACI Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition. Welcome to London!
Director General, ACI World