Airports and airlines share common interests in making aviation safer, more secure, user-friendly, operationally efficient and environmentally responsible, so they need to renew their agenda to build their relationships, Tony Tyler, director-general of IATA, told attendees at Airports Council International’s (ACI) World Annual General Assembly in Marrakech, Morocco. He outlined six areas of enhanced cooperation: safety, security, improving the customer experience, infrastructure investments, environment and charges.
Tyler lauded ACI for helping IATA build the Safety Audit for Ground Operations, which has become the global standard. He also noted how his organization continues to promote talks among industry and government stakeholders on a Checkpoint of the Future, which focuses on a risk-based approach while allowing passengers to move through security without stopping, unpacking or removing outerwear.
“Airlines and airports worked together to improve efficiency and passenger convenience through IATA’s Simplifying the Business program, starting with e-ticketing, common use self-service kiosks and bar coded boarding passes,” said Tyler. He also pointed out how IATA’s Baggage Improvement Program helped Air New Zealand and Auckland International Airport reduced baggage mishandling by 75 percent.
Tyler urged airport officials to work with airlines in master planning to ensure that investments are being made that match the needs of carriers. He cited the example of London Heathrow Airport, where an ongoing dialogue with airlines is helping in areas including promoting capacity expansion, optimizing existing capacity, taking advantage of developing technology, mitigating noise and emissions, enhancing surface access and improving operational resilience.
Additonally, Tyler stressed the importance of cost-efficient, affordable airports with charges in line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) principles. “Airlines and airports are in a business relationship…and it is a tough business,” he said. “Airlines are expected to make a margin of 1.2 percent this year and 0.8 percent in 2012. Airports will be under similar pressure. In fact, regardless of the economic situation, there is a natural tension in the supplier-customer relationship between airports and airlines. But let’s keep focused on the fact that airlines and airports both need to be financially sound financial partners that are able to plan and grow our businesses together.”