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From airport terminals to integrated hubs

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20 December 2022

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Marco Troncone, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma, tells International Airport Review how there is no time like the present. Airports must act now and take advantage of the upcoming exciting digital and sustainable transitions within aviation.

The world we live in today is undergoing profound transformations. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a rapid acceleration in the use of new technologies, encouraging a proactive approach to digital transition; meanwhile, awareness towards the climate crisis is raising and sustainability is gaining an increasingly central role in people’s choices and companies’ strategies. It is the time to act, to show concreteness. And, when it comes to our sector, this could not be any more accurate.

In addition to being one of the industries most affected by the pandemic crisis, airports are, given the nature of our sector, at the centre of the debate on sustainability and the green transition. The airport industry is undeniably ‘hard-to-abate’, and we must feel the responsibility to prove that our approach is consistent, tangible and of immediate implementation. Considering that sustainability is becoming a key driver of people’s attitude towards travel (especially when it comes to the youngest Millennials, Generations Z and Alpha), we must implement an integrated strategy to maintain travellers’ trust and inform them of the ways in which we are committed to make the future of aviation greener.

The sisterhood of sustainability and innovation

Aeroporti di Roma embraces this fundamental challenge at various levels, with a predominant focus on decarbonisation: our primary aim is to become net zero by 2030, leading at the same time the transition of the whole industry.

Only by envisioning new goals and being able to reinvent ourselves we will build the green, integrated and digital future we wish for the airport sector”

To this purpose, we have launched an Italian observatory, i.e., the Pact for Decarbonising the Air Transport Industry, which gathers airports, airlines, institutions, associations and academics to identify a roadmap – based on a scientific approach, to reach the progressive decarbonisation of the sector ahead of the European target (2050). This alliance, officially presented during its first annual congress in September 2022, testifies to our vision that only by joining forces will we be able to prepare our industry to face a more sustainable future; a vision that concretises also through qualified partnerships, such as the one with Eni that allowed us to become the first airport in Italy to make Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) available to an airline, in 2021.

We believe that a sustainable, future‑oriented airport should be looking to expand its horizons to meet the evolving needs of passengers, while reaching the ecological goals. In this perspective, Aeroporti di Roma is actively working to further develop intermodality: an occasion to multiply connectivity opportunities for passengers, offering an increasingly integrated rail-air product through the implementation of commercial agreements with air carriers operating at Fiumicino (leading to the possibility of carrying out passenger and baggage check-in operations directly at the main railway stations connected with Fiumicino hub), while enriching the infrastructural development of the airport’s railway station.