Welcome to the Crossroads of Global Aviation for the World’s Largest Airport Event
We are excited to be here in Montréal with you! The 2016 ACI-NA / World Annual Conference brings all sectors of the airport industry together to provide airport decision-makers and their peers from around the world with insights on the latest trends and strategies that advance the industry. This year’s event is no exception.
Following our special opening session on leading in crisis, our conference keynote with CNN’s Peter Bergen, this year’s event includes access to innovative solutions in our sold-out exhibit hall, thought leadership sessions, panel discussions, and enhanced networking opportunities. The most important industry issues are on the agenda, including environmental protection, economic sustainability, doing business in a digital world, enhancing the passenger experience, promoting safety and security, and much more.
This year’s conference is very special, and we are excited to celebrate Airports Council International’s 25th anniversary as a global organization. ACI’s prominence as "the Voice of the World’s Airports" is essential to the growing role airports play in connecting people and businesses around the world. That message will be even more important as ICAO meets for its 39th Assembly this week in Montréal, ensuring that the civil aviation capital of the world will be abuzz with activity related to our industry.
We look forward to more engaging dialogue on ways we can enhance the work we do to provide a safe, efficient, and sustainable airport industry.
Declan Collier, Chair ACI World and CEO, London City Airport
Maureen Riley, Chair, ACI-NA and Executive Director, Salt Lake City Department of Airports
Session Highlight: The World
The impact a crisis can have on an airport was stamped into the
eyes of everyone sitting in 517BC following the short CNN video that started
off the Crisis Communication: The World Is Watching session that was held
during General Session 1. It showed some of the initial coverage of these three
catastrophic recent events:
>March 8, 2014: Missing airplane at Malaysian Airline
>May 5, 2016: Wildfires at Fort McMurray International Airport
>March 22, 2016: Two explosions at Brussels Airport
"We live in a world wracked with crises at all times," said James
Cherry, pausing for impact as the attendees absorbed the reality of the horror
in the videos. "And airports are never immune to these events that could have a
major impact on our operations."
But, while there are different types of crises - ranging from floods to
fires to bombs - they all have one thing in common: "They are unpredictable,"
said Cherry. Almost as unpredictable is the information posted on social media
sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. "Almost everyone has a smartphone they can
use to take a picture," said Cherry. "No filter." This causes confusion,
especially in the beginning, in addition to giving every major crisis "a global
Communication, accurate communication, is an integral part of
any crisis, however. "We know that crisis and communication go hand in hand,"
Crises also require immediate action. "But, do you follow a plan or
should you rely on your instincts?"
The leaders in this panel found out exactly how they would react to a
crisis, as they are the leaders at the airports referenced in the video.
Tan Sri Bashir, Ahmad Abdul Majid, Malaysia Airports Holdings, said,
"We don’t really want to talk about them. But they do happen." During the missing
airplane crisis, communicating efficiently was paramount, but more difficult
"especially as we don’t have as much control" in this area as we used to. "When
an incident happens, the communication flow is no longer one way. Anybody and
everybody can pass along the information. They can even create their own
information... It becomes speculative. Everyone has a theory."
Scott Clements, former President and CEO at Fort
McMurray International Airport, went through a completely different kind of
crisis, one with a face that he’ll never forget. "If you’ve ever been at the
face of one of these things, it is hard to not get emotional," said Clements.
During the May 2016 fire, the airport was "absolutely essential," said
Clements. The Regional Emergency Control Center declared the airport an
emergency asset. But it was "our high state of readiness and safety at the
airport and in the region that were our keys to success," said Clements. "Plus,
we kept the airport open 24 hours."
Arnaud Feist, the CEO of Brussels Airport Company, had a crisis in the
form of at least one suicide bomber and two explosions. "All the exercises we
had performed in the past were effective. But the realities you just cannot
see," said Feist. The airport reopened to full capacity within 72 days, but
only because four principals were followed: teamwork/empowerment, a vision for
everyone involved, stakeholder management and communication. "We hired some
external resources to strengthen the team and ensure we could be available
24/7," said Feist. And one of the aspects that had to be taken into account at
all times was the emotional one. "This is a story of human beings, heroes,
people who have gone beyond their duties to save lives and to help other people
Perspectives on Stakeholder
Engagement and Climate Change Adaptation
"Do not be misled. The extremes in the weather are going to get worse.
Period." This statement by Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head, Intact Centre on Climate
Adaptation, University of Waterloo, was a common theme during the Perspectives
on Stakeholder Engagement and Climate Change Adaptation session. The four
panelists and the moderator talked about how to prepare and adapt to the
changing climate and the data used to reach certain conclusions.
"One of the core questions you have to ask is, ‘Adapting to what?’"
said Blair. "Climate change is here to stay. It is irreversible."
According to Annie Petsonk, International Counsel, Environmental
Defense Fund, the first step is to understand the forecast for your
airport...It is hard to do these forecasts. People are skeptical. But
understanding the forecast is important in anticipating changes."
So, how do you prepare for it and raise its importance level?
"Priorities will vary greatly between airports. Nobody can tell an airport how
to prioritize," said Rachel Burbridge, Environmental Policy Officer,
Eurocontrol. "It has to be a local decision and based on resources."
When researching, also try reaching out to insurance companies. Blair
mentioned that Intact Financial now has a full-time meteorologist that works
Also, due to its importance in planning for future risks, "the climate
center has done extensive research on climate modeling," added Phillipe Lemire,
Regional Director, Northern Transportation Office for the Transport Quebec. ACI
chapters can help you access that information, as well. This type of
information is important for infrastructure renovations, too, as
"infrastructure that was designed for .5 inch of rainfall event is going to be
completely inadequate" during torrential rainfalls that may be predicted for
your area. "When you are building infrastructure, you want to take sure you are
building it in such a way that is adapting to changes on the way 50 years down
the road," added Blair.
Steve J. Grossman, CEO, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, who moderated
the session, summed it up perfectly: "It is not, ‘How do we stop it?’ It is,
"How do we deal with it?’"
Is Transforming the Airport Industry
In this afternoon session on Monday, we were treated
to a trinity of examples of the promise that digital can bring to the airport
space and experience. The message was clear – whether big or small, your
airport can really set itself apart, by embracing digital and other technology.
First up, Los Angles International (LAX) presented
about extraordinarily visual immersive technology in place in its Tom Bradley
Terminal. Even the most frequent travellers cannot help but be wowed by the
artful creativity and dare we say it, surprise in evidence in the terminal.
Customer satisfaction is up and the imaginative use of this immersive tech has
redefined the passenger perception of LAX.
The second speaker, ACI Chair Declan Collier,
outlined how his airport, London City Airport (LCY) has invested in heavily in
digital technology over the past 5 years. The airport had 4.3 million
well-heeled passengers last year and on Collier’s watch, it has partnered with
a number of start-ups to generate more data, increase operational performance,
customer service and passenger perception. The proof was in the presentation,
with Collier speaking fluently with key figures on the specifics of gains in
average processing time versus dwell time, some fine examples of customer
service and much, much more.
The third and final speaker, Alexis Gardy from the
consultancy Roland Berger, spelled out the intense competition between various
players in the air transport supply chain and outlined the value of digital in
the spheres of passenger journey, operational efficiency and retail &
ancilliary revenues. Jacob also namechecked a number of up-and-coming start-ups
and urged the audience to embrace digital, because data begets data, leading to
more opportunities and a fresh wave of business angles.
Each of the three presenters had a big message in common
– seize the opportunities new tech allows you – even if nobody else had done it
a.m. - 9:00 a.m.: WBP/Associate Member
and Airport Director Roundtable Breakfast
a.m. - 9:00 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: Keynote Address with
CNN Analyst Peter Bergen
a.m. - 10:30 a.m.: ACI-NA
Downes Award Presentation
a.m. - 10:45 a.m.: Airport
Carbon Accreditation Recognition Ceremony
p.m. - 5:15 p.m.: Afternoon Sessions
p.m. - 6:15 p.m.: Chairs’ Handoff
p.m. - 10:00 p.m.: Closing
To enhance your conference experience, we are excited to
introduce the ACI-NA Conferences app!
Available to all registered attendees,
the ACI-NA Conferences app engages attendees and gives them the latest annual
conference information on their smartphones and tablets. Search the participant
list, connect with attendees, customize your agenda, and much more. This year’s mobile app is sponsored by The
Get the app now by clicking on one of the links or search
"ACI-NA Conferences" in the App
Store or Google Play.
Once downloaded, your login for the app is:
Username: Email used to register for the annual conference
President and CEO Kevin Burke gave a state of the industry address,
highlighting a global approach for innovation in the 21st century,
as we look ahead to the future. Read
Welcome Message from Minister Garneau / ICAO – Why it Matters to Airports
Just prior to the start of
Session 4A, Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI World, had the pleasure of
welcoming one of the conference’s most distinguished guests, Marc Garneau, the
Canadian Minister of Transport. Minister Garneau began his career as a Naval
Officer in the Canadian Forces, was the first Canadian in space in 1984,
entered Parliament in 2008 and has been the
Minister of Transport since November 2015.
At the podium, Minister
Garneau highlighted the importance of the transportation industry, including
airports, to the national economy and the policy priority it has become to the
Government of Canada. Much like ACI’s mission of representing the interests of
the world’s airports and the communities they serve, Garneau explained how "on
the ground" feedback from airports, travelers, business communities and other
stakeholders were responsible for shaping his vision and that of the
Beginning the session as
moderator, Gittens opened the panel, ICAO
- Why it matters to airports, with a clear objective; to provide the
audience with a better understanding of what the ICAO actually does, why it is
important to airports and what should ACI and airport do to best ensure that
ICAO meets their needs?
Gittens was joined by joined
by Ambassador Jean-Benoit Leblanc from the Canadian permanent representation to
ICAO; Ambassador Michael Lawson, from the US permanent representation to ICAO;
and Mr. Bill Voss, who represents the US on the Air Navigation Commission.
The first panelist, Lawson,
spoke about how the ICAO Council works from the point of view of the
representative of countries. The second panelist, Leblanc, focused on the
relationship between governments and ICAO. The third panelist, Voss, spoke
about how the details are taken from experts around the world and how the ICAO
internal machine works.
Strategic HR – Developing an
Effective Airport Training Strategy
"Let’s stop looking at training," said a resolute Kevin Caron at the
Strategic HR – Developing an Effective Airport Training Strategy session. Might
seem like an odd way to address a room full of people waiting to hear about how
they can improve the training strategies at their organization. But, alternate
wording soon followed, and it began to make sense. "Let’s see it as learning
and development," added the Head of Global Training and DNA at ACI World. Then,
came the questions. What skillsets do we need in the future? And, more
importantly, how many have a learning and development plan.
Just like a master plan, a learning and development plan is a
necessity. "It is an investment, not a cost," said Caron. At Detroit
Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, a development plan is even required in all
departments, said Gale LaRoche, Vice President of Human Resources. Part of
their reasoning is they "want interns to have meaningful experiences with us,
not just running for coffee." This requirement is just one of many that Detroit
rolled out after an FAA audit revealed they needed a unified training system.
Now they have performance incentives for about 85% of their workforce,
development training, a Critical Leadership Academy, a Unified Talent
Management program, Beyond the Job planning, and a Talent Pipeline. "Almost
100% of our employees participate (in the Talent Pipeline), though it was a
slow go at first," said LaRouche.
"Developing employees has become a fundamental part of most of our
businesses," said moderator Thella Bowens, President and CEO, San Diego County
Airport Authority. The simple reason? "Unqualified and poorly trained employees
equate to organization failure." But, how do you find the leaders in your midst
– without the "help" of a crisis? "And how do you develop high potential talent
that may exist in your organization?" asked Zack Deming, Principal, Korn Ferry.
"Intentional development is critical," said Deming. "There is no
substitute for experience." The leadership development process he recommended
was DIVA – Diverse, Intense, Varied and Adverse.
Roelof-Jan Steenstra, CEO of Fort McMurray International Airport,
suggested something along those lines, but in the accreditation arena. The AAE
(Accredited Airport Executive – North America) and IAP (International Airport
Professional) designations were the ones he was referencing. "I absolutely
believe they are worth the time and effort to complete." The pursuit of a
designation comes back to lifelong learning, he explained. Mentoring and
learning should happen at all levels of an organization, and with all ages. "If
you want career stability, keep on learning!"
– The Community of Airports at Work
The concurrent education session titled APEX – The Community of Airports at Worktook place yesterday during a busy first day of the 2016 ACI-NA / World Annual
Conference and World Annual General Assembly in Montreal. Moderated by Dr.
Yiannis Paraschis, CEO, Athens International Airport and former ACI World
Chair, the session presented delegates an in-depth view of the benefits and
future of ACI’s rapidly growing Airport Excellence (APEX) programme.
The programme, which started five years ago provides
safety reviews to large and small airports based on ICAO standards and ACI best
practices. These reviews are conducted by an international team of ACI Safety
Partners, which are airports that provide expert volunteers for onsite reviews
at host airports around the world.
Speakers on the session panel included Danny Boutin, Senior
Manager, APEX Programmes, ACI World; Jennifer Sullivan, Director, Corporate
Safety and Security, Greater Toronto Airport Authority; Nina Brooks, Head,
Security, ACI World; and Richard Marchi, Senior Advisor, Policy and Regulatory
A major theme of the session, expressed by Jennifer
Sullivan, was how the APEX programme provides an unparrelled platform for
comfortable engagement between host airports and safety partners for honest and
deep dialogue on challenges and actions required in the area of operational
safety. Additionally, the subject of the development of the APEX programme into
other fields, such as security and environment were touched upon by Nina Brooks
and Richard Marchi respectively.
The session began with Angela Gittens, Director General,
ACI World and Danny Boutin honouring the airports of Brussels, Edmonton,
Mauritius, Quito and San Antonio with awards for their strong commitment and
excellent work as ACI Safety Partners.
More information on the APEX programme, including how to
request a safety review and/or become a safety partner can be found at www.aci.aero/apex.
Be sure to tweet comments and photos leading up to the
2016 ACI-NA/World Annual Conference/World Annual General Assembly. Mention@airportscouncil and use the hashtag #airports16
The exhibition hall has been a great success throughout the ACI-NA/World
Annual Conference. Attendees can’t get enough!
Check out the full 2016 ACI-NA/World Annual
Conference/World Annual General Assembly agenda here.
Breaking Down the
Silos in Safety: Airports are complex operating environments involving
multiple stakeholder groups--airlines, general aviation, ground handlers,
terminal tenants, air navigation service providers and airport staff. Although
safety is a top concern for all of these groups, in most cases each of them
brings their corporate cultures, policies, procedures, training programs, and
performance metrics with them to the airport. How can airport operators and
their stakeholder partners work to break down these "silos" and make their safety
programs more effective and holistic? In this session we’ll discuss some of the
cross industry initiatives that key operator groups are undertaking to do this.
Respond to New and
Emerging Security Threats: In responding to dynamic security challenges,
airports work on a daily basis in close coordination with regulators and
security authorities such as TSA and the Canadian Air Transport Security
Authority. Considering the evolving threat environment, it is essential to
leverage industry/government partnerships, work collaboratively and assess what
countermeasures and technologies may be necessary to respond to threats while
working to maximize efficiency. Innovation is critical given the unique
geographic and operational differences between airports. This session will
provide an opportunity to gain a global view from ICAO and talk directly with
senior TSA and CATSA representatives about strategies to enhance the security
of the aviation system.
because you're at a conference doesn't mean the world stops. This section will
feature the latest industry news so you don't miss a beat while networking with
old friends and new connections.
Department’s $1bn operating budget receives approval: The US Miami-Dade
board of county commissioners has approved Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s
(MDAD) first $1bn operating budget, which will help with the expansion of Miami
International Airport (MIA). Read
airport sets date for its formal debut: Four years after breaking ground on
an ambitious $200 million overhaul of Charleston International, airport
officials will officially rededicate the expanded terminal in a public ceremony
Oct. 25 under the new dome in the Central Hall. Read
Rupert Airport unveiled: Around 250 adults and children made the trek to
the Prince Rupert Airport on Saturday to attend the grand opening of the newly
renovated facility. Some of the work done at the airport includes an entirely
new exterior, a new roof and ceiling, energy-efficient lighting, new windows
and offices and an upgrade to the pre-boarding area. Read more>>
Airport preps for Aer Lingus service to Dublin, hopes for more flights: Flights
to Dublin begin Wednesday. They will be Bradley's first transatlantic flights
since Northwest Airlines flew from Bradley to Amsterdam from June 2007 to
September 2008. Read
adds first nonstop flight from Chicago to Spain: American Airlines is
adding a new international destination — Barcelona, Spain — to its routes from
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Read
flight makes emergency landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport: A
flight from Niagara Falls to Fort Lauderdale made an emergency landing early
Monday morning at Buffalo Niagara International Airport after the pilot saw
flames coming from the back of one of the plane’s engines. Read
Uber using selfies as
security measure: As ride-share services Uber X and Lyft prepare for
operations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport under a new set of
security regulations, Uber is rolling out a new security measure it has been
testing in Atlanta and a few other cities — using selfies. Read
JetBlue adds new
cross-country route from Los Angeles: JetBlue is adding a new cross-country route.
The airline announced Monday that it will begin flying nonstop between Los
Angeles and Orlando on Jan. 5. Read
America agree to extend DOJ’s merger review period: Alaska Air Group and
Virgin America have agreed to give the US Department of Justice (DOJ)
additional time to review their proposed merger. Read
Xiamen Air comes to Sea-Tac airport: Xiamen Air is the latest carrier to
serve Sea-Tac Airport with an international direct route. Seattle is the first
U.S. destination for the airline, and the first passengers arrived aboard a 787
Dreamliner Monday morning. Read
ROA adds waiting lot:A cell-phone lot is now available at the back end of the parking lot at
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. Read
new headquarters to bear name of CEO who oversaw expansion: American
Airlines will name its new Fort Worth headquarters after former CEO Robert
Crandall, the company's current CEO Doug Parker announced recently. Read