Airport World Issue 1 2013 - Page 15

ACI VIEWPOINT View from the top I ACI director general, Angela Gittens, reflects on restrictive economic regulation and looks forward to ACI’s Economics & Finance Conference in Singapore. n my presentation for The Aviation Industry Leadership Forum at CANSO’s World Air Traffic Management Congress in Madrid in February, I underlined the rapid changes made or encountered by other industries such as banking, personal computing, communications and manufacturing. The continued health and success of the survivors in these industries have squarely rested on their timely responses to disruptive technology and market forces. As Charles Darwin noted in the 19th century, physical survival of a species depends most on the organism’s agility in adapting to changes in the external environment. We have seen that the airport industry is not immune to the basic laws of evolution, yet many airports are hobbled by the kind of economic regulation more suited to utility with a captive audience than an air service competitor in a global marketplace. On the theme ‘The Keys to Financial Success for Airport Operators in a Changing Environment’, ACI’s 5th annual Economics and Finance Conference is rooted in charting the way forward for airports to evolve and financially thrive in their partnerships with governments, regulators and investors. The reality that underlines the conference is the need to develop and finance the expansion of airport infrastructure in light of forecasts that passenger traffic will double by 2030. This requires co-operation and a reform of government regulations on airport financing, the adoption of modern commercial business practices and successful strategies for airports to attract and retain the interest of the investment community. Solid economics and financials are essential to run successful enterprises. Beyond the role of airports as international gateways for tourism and trade, airports must safeguard their role in their communities as leading employers, engines of socio-economic vitality and drivers of community development. The topics and speakers at the Economics and Finance Conference have been carefully selected to provide the tools necessary to help airports thrive. It takes place in Singapore this year to reflect the growing significance of the Asian aviation and financial markets, as the region takes its rightful place in the world’s economic domain. While planning the Economics and Finance Conference, we also look forward to seeing many of you in Istanbul on June 10-12 for the ACI Europe/World Annual General Assembly, Congress and Exhibition. AW AIRPORT WORLD/FEBRUARY-MARCH 2013 15 15