The Airports Council International (ACI), which represents over 1,630 airports in 179 countries around the world, has launched a new safety initiative designed to ensure that airports contribute proactively to the demands of a safe and secure air-transport system.
The Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety initiative, which was launched at the association’s recent general assembly in Bermuda, is a multi-pronged programme designed to unite all regions in a proactive global safety improvement. The initiative will focus on a management-systems approach to safety improvement, and in particular on runway-safety improvements.
The programme, developed in consultation with stakeholders, including ACI members and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), will be tested through pilot programmes involving each of the five geographic regions. ACI says the objective of APEX in Safety is to ensure that all airports have the necessary knowledge, management structures and assistance they need to implement international safety standards and meet audit requirements.
“There is a compelling case for change and action,” says Ad Rutten, chief executive officer of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. “ICAO findings, from the audits they have performed in recent years, show that 58 percent of audited states have not established procedures for aerodrome certification [and] 69 percent of audited states have not established a runway-safety programme.”
“According to the Flight Safety Foundation, 30 percent of major damage accidents that occurred between 1995 through to 2008 were runway-related,” he adds.
Airports prepare for aviation upturn
Airports around the world are investing in information technology (IT) infrastructure in anticipation of rising passenger numbers, according to SITA’s latest annual Airport IT Trends Survey.
Airports in the Asia-Pacific region are leading the investment, along with the Middle East and Africa. Investment as a percentage of revenue rose to 3.6 percent in 2009, with 78 percent of airports expecting budgets to remain the same or increase in 2011, as they strive for greater efficiency and cost reductions.
The survey, based on responses from 128 airport operators, found that reducing the cost of business was the top driver, followed by improving customer service. Upgrades to network infrastructure with virtualisation and VoIP were top of the list of IT investment.
Passenger self-service has come of age, the survey found, with 60 percent of respondents already having implemented kiosks for check-in. New services such as bag tag printing, flight transfers and passport scanning are also on the cards for passenger self-service in the future for many airports. Airports are also starting to use self boarding e-gates to automate the processing of passengers at boarding and security checkpoints.
About 30 percent of airports in the survey are already using social media channels and more than half are planning to use these to communicate with passengers. There is strong interest in the implementation of Shared Airport Operations Centres, which provide stakeholders with access to integrated data and real-time communications, the survey found.
SINGAPORE’S CHANGI Airport Group (CAG) has signed a co-operation agreement with Germany’s Munich Airport, designed to increase collaboration between two of the world’s major transportation hubs. The deal includes a management exchange programme, whereby managers from each airport get to see the processes and structures of the partner airport for themselves. The two airport heads will meet at least once a year to co-ordinate joint projects. The two airports are currently connected by 28 weekly flights operated by Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. CAG has also signed a deal with Henan Civil Aviation Department and Construction Committee to develop connectivity between Singapore and cities in the Chinese province, primarily Zhengzhou. The partners will work towards establishing direct flights, support airlines and promote the routes once they are established.
SYDNEY AIRPORT has been named Australia’s Capital City Airport of the Year by the Australian Airports Association. The award follows the completion of a number of major projects at the airport, including the expansion and upgrade of the international terminal and construction of the A$100 million (US$96.25 million) runway safety area at the western end of the east-west runway. The projects are part of A$1.7 billion invested by the airport since 2002. A further A$1 billion in capital expenditure is planned over the next five years. The airport is on track to handle more than 35 million passengers this year.
ARINC HAS launched a suite of advanced passenger technologies at the new five-storey international terminal at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Opening of the new terminal allows Haneda to share international flights with Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. ARINC has supplied more than 200 passenger check-in and departure workstations, the vMUSE common-use passenger technology, 40 common-use passenger kiosks using SelfServ technology and the BagLink baggage messaging system. The new international terminal boosts the airport’s annual capacity to 90 million passengers.