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IATA Urges Airports, Airlines To Tackle Future Together

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

10 November 2011

Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, has called for airlines and airports to work more closely to achieve common goals for the benefit of the industry.

In a keynote address to airport operators at the Airports Council International (ACI) World Annual General Assembly in Morocco, Tyler said the two stakeholders need “a common and forward-looking agenda that builds on past successes and puts innovation at the heart of [airports and airlines'] common issues. [We] share a common interest in making aviation safer, more secure, user-friendly, operationally efficient and environmentally responsible. Combined, these are our common license to grow.”

Tyler highlighted six areas where airports and airlines can enhance cooperation to innovate and deliver value: safety, security, improving the customer experience, infrastructure investments, environment and charges.

Firstly addressing safety, Tyler stated: “Safety is our top priority and requires a team effort. We are already doing good and important work together in critical areas such as runway safety. Addressing ground safety and reducing the USD4bn cost of ground damage is another area. ACI contributed to building the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) which has become the global standard. Seattle Tacoma and Amsterdam Schiphol now mandate ISAGO as a requirement for all ground operators at their airports. I urge others to do the same. If we are serious about safety—and we are—there is no reason not to."

There are 128 ISAGO registrations covering 83 ground service providers at 104 airports, with 25 airports having indicated their support of ISAGO.

On security, Tyler urged continued dialogue between industry stakeholders towards the introduction of new ways of monitoring passengers, through a risk-based approach, that would allow passengers to pass through security without stopping, unpacking luggage or removing outerwear. Tyler spoke of the cost-benefits that this could bring as well as the increased economic activity that could be generated within the airport by shortening queuing times.

In other areas, Tyler urged airlines and airports to work more closely on baggage delivery accuracy to support airlines as they unbundle their product, including baggage charges. Tyler noted the success of IATA’s Baggage Improvement Program, which has aided Air New Zealand and Auckland International Airport reduce baggage mishandling by 75%.

Tyler also called for more airport partnerships to promote e-freight. The global roll out of e-freight will lower costs across supply chains, improve efficiency, reliability, accuracy and security, and has the potential to contribute to shortening process cycles by up to 24 hours.

On the important issue of the environment, Tyler said airports and airlines are united with air navigation service providers and manufacturers on the issue of tackling aviation-related carbon emissions. To achieve the industry's commitments to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually to 2020, cap net emissions from 2020 and cut net emissions in half by 2050 (compared to 2005 emissions), the Director General called for innovative, cooperative approaches.

“I encourage airports around the world to team-up with airlines," he said. "Some airports—Madrid-Barajas, Detroit and Stockholm-Arlanda have allocated land to grow source crops for sustainable biofuels. Zurich Airport has mandated the used of fixed ground power. These are all important moves to improve our environmental performance,” Tyler noted.

Lastly, on the business relationship between airlines and airports, Tyler reiterated the importance of cost-efficient airports with charges in line with International Civil Aviation Organization principles. Tyler called for reviews of current practices to ensure pricing arrangements between the two stakeholders are transparent and reliable.

“Airlines and airports are in a business relationship and it is a tough business. Airlines are expected to make a margin of 1.2% this year and 0.8% 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.”

TAGS: aviation

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