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ACI releases Policy Brief on airport networks and the sustainability of small airports

October 21, 2017 Airport No Comments Email Email

Airports Council International (ACI) World has released a Policy Brief on airport networks and the sustainability of small airports, marking the first day of the 27th ACI Africa/World Annual Assembly, Conference and Exhibition taking place in Port Louis, Mauritius, from 16–18 October 2017, generously hosted by Mauritius Airport.  The theme aptly expresses the challenge and opportunity for the modern airport executive: “Bold leadership in a time of change.”

The ACI Policy Brief focuses on one specific management model: the airport network and the sustainability of airports with low traffic volume. It provides an overview of the state of airport networks worldwide, based on a robust dataset and inventory of the world’s networks. It also puts forth practical policy recommendations to ensure that airport operation and development is sustainable and beneficial to airlines, passengers, communities and national economies.

The ACI Policy Brief proves that the sustainable operation and development of the world’s smaller airports remains a challenge. While the airport industry as a whole is profitable, financial statements show that as many as 66% of the world’s airports—most of which are small—operate at a net loss. The airport network model is one of the options to overcome this challenge. In order to do so, however, airport networks must continue to be able to cross-subsidize smaller airports in accordance with the ICAO framework.

“Airport operators should be permitted to operate under a wide range of management models to serve their specific missions, their business needs and local circumstances,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. “When a network approach is pursued, cross-subsidies from profitable larger airports are often key to the sustainability of smaller airports, which in turn provide essential benefits in terms of safety, social and economic development, and positive externalities to airlines users of the network.”

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