April 30, 2013: Kenya’s role in the global aviation industry got a shot in the arm when the country hosted a forum bringing together airport executives from around the world.
This was the first time ever that the meeting of the Airport Council International (ACI) World Economics Committee, whose mission is to promote economic interests of airports globally, has been held in Africa.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), led by its General Manager Business Development and Marketing, Lucy Mbugua, hosted the two-day conference at a Nairobi hotel.
Speaking at the end of the meeting today, Ms Mbugua commented: “This was a great honour for Kenya and KAA in particular to be chosen to host such an important gathering of airport executives from across the world. The executives discussed and developed a framework for airport financial benchmarking as well as the formulation of policies on the high costs of rigid economic regulation of airports.”
According to Chris Poinsatte, the chairman of the ACI World Economics Committee, there is a shift in trends in the global aviation industry, with Africa, Latin America and Asia emerging as key growth frontiers, which require thriving airports to handle the increasing demands.
“We need to encourage and sustain growth in the industry by implementing sensitive economic policies that take into consideration the interests of the airports all over the world,” added Mr Poinsatte, who is also the CFO and Executive Vice President Airline Business and Technology at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Texas in the USA.
The ACI World Economics Committee that consists of two member nations from each continent as well as ten other members also resolved to work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to develop examples of best practices in the field of airport and airline relations. Kenya and Zambia represents the African continent in the committee.
Its outcomes will be passed on to the ACI world board for endorsement and implementation.
The Director of Economics and Program Development at ACI, Dr Rafael Echervarne, while thanking KAA for hosting the meeting, described it as a major milestone for the committee members given that they were meeting in Kenya for the first time.
“The sharing of experience, ideas and the best practice will go a long way in the development of common policies and programs for member countries,” Mr Echervarne said.
The committee’s mandate covers areas such as airport charging systems; noise and passenger service charges; development of revenues from concessions and other non-aeronautical sources; financial statistics; passenger and cargo forecasting.It also covers airport financing and ownership; state taxation; the economic implications for airports of such issues as air transport liberalization and consolidation, competition between air transport and other modes of high-speed transport; the economic impact of airports and; route development.
The Nairobi meeting brought together senior executives from Metropolitan Airports Commission which manages seven Airports in the USA; Athens International Airport- Greece; Ben Gurion International Airport – Israel; and Indira Gandhi International Airport – India; and LeighFisher – United Kingdom.
Others were Narita International Airport Corporation – Japan; Frankfurt Airport Services – Germany; Kenneth Kaunda International Airport – Zambia; Airports Council International – Canada; Changi International Airport – Singapore; and Denver International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Salt Lake City Department of Airports, San Francisco International Airport – all of USA; and the Kenya Airports Authority which manages 4 International airports, 4 domestic airports and several airstrips.