Airports Council International (ACI) World kicked off the sixth Airport Chief Executives’ Symposium (ACES) by calling for governments and industry worldwide to work together to accommodate soaring air traffic demand and allow airports to grow sustainably.

The Airport Chief Executives’ Symposium is an event hosted by Athens International Airport which is focused on stimulating dialogue on “growing sustainably and developing a new strategy for airports and destinations”. Delegates include airport chief executives, government officials and creative-industry leaders.

During her welcome address, Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI World underlined the fact that airports are part of an industry that delivers significant economic and social benefits.

“To meet the challenges posed by recent forecasts for growth in demand for air services, airports require permission to operate and grow, not only from regulatory authorities and governments but also from the local and broader communities they serve,” Gittens said.

“Stakeholders across the industry are in broad agreement that investment in airport infrastructure is critical to the global economy and global and national connectivity especially in achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. Given this, the injection of private investment has been a successful option for airports in a growing number of countries, just as it has been done here in Greece.

“We support the development of quality airport infrastructure commensurate with the level of projected growth. Moreover, we encourage airports to use this common understanding as a platform to present the economic and social benefits of aviation to their regulators, to investment banks and to aid agencies as they seek to invest in economic development projects that are sustainable.

“In Greece as in many other countries in the world, Airport networks play an important role in ensuring the economic sustainability of Regional airports. The ACI Policy Brief on airport networks and the sustainability of small airports shows that the sustainable operation and development of the world’s smaller airports remains a challenge.

“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.

“To assist airports in their role as environmental stewards, ACI provides tools for their performance and advocates the right policies at local, regional and global level to support that balance of economic and social development with environment protection that are the pillars of sustainability.”

It is the position of ACI that a collaborative approach across the industry is key as working with regulators, airports, suppliers, and especially with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the most efficient and effective way of ensuring that there is a common understanding of the industry.