Innovation key to sustainable growth of African airports, Airports Council International
As African airports seek to respond to the challenges of the rapid growth in demand for air services, Airports Council International (ACI) has emphasized the importance of innovation to the sustainable growth of the sector in the region.
Addressing aviation stakeholders at the 28th ACI Africa Annual General Assembly and Regional Conference and Exhibition, in Accra, Ghana, ACI World Director General Angela Gittens highlighted traffic forecasts for the region and how innovation can address some of the challenges that African airports face.
“According to our latest data, ACI forecasts a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4.7% from 2018 to 2023 in Africa, with passenger traffic expected to grow beyond 450 million by 2040,” Gittens said. “Airport leaders are faced with pressure to manage performance and growth, without constantly adding infrastructure and cost, while striving for environmental sustainability and robust security.
“In the spirit of No Airport Left Behind, we need to consider solutions for airports big and small, with different regulatory and operational realities, and how we can help everyone to grow. Innovation is key to the sustainable growth of African airports.”
ACI Africa Secretary General Ali Tounsi welcomed delegates to the conference, hosted by Ghana Airports Company Limited, and elaborated on the event’s theme: “Smart airports of the future, are we ready?”
“Airports provide the perfect environment to foster innovation, bringing together many processes, controls, customers and stakeholders in a complex system that requires constant coordination and communication, but are we ready?” Tounsi said.
“Our programme covers our theme from all fronts. At the core, each session is about crafting and implementing innovations that can evolve in step with the industry, accommodate growth, and ensure that aviation in the Africa region continues to generate socio-economic benefits to communities worldwide.”
ACI World Director General spoke of ACI initiatives paving the way in airport innovation, and the need for the right regulatory framework.
“Both NEXTT (New experience travel technologies) and Smart Security are programmes that address many of airports’ challenges and which have the potential to bring technological innovation to the heart of aviation,” Gittens said. “No innovation programme can be successful, however, without regulatory support, which includes a partnership approach between industry and government, and a flexible, adaptable regulatory framework.”
The 28th ACI Africa Annual General Assembly and Regional Conference and Exhibition will include Sessions on: Innovation in security and facilitation; how airports can benefit from disruptive technologies; how technology can increase airport revenues; the challenges of digital transformation at small airports; smart and eco-friendly airports of the future; and Airport Collaborative Decision Making. It will also hold the 28th ACI Africa Annual General Assembly.