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Building on the successes of 2022

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22 December 2022

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ACI World Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, tells International Airport Review how 2023 will see ACI working with its member airports to move the industry forward, to benefit both travellers and communities.

As we soon welcome a new year, many of our sector’s priorities will build on the successes of 2022 – a particularly productive year for ACI World and its member airports. Among other things, these priorities will include working towards our climate goal, developing aviation’s workforce, investing in infrastructure, implementing new technologies and evolving in-step with passenger expectations. We will need to work efficiently and collaboratively if we are to maximise aviation’s social and economic benefits to their full potential in a sustainable manner. After all, under our current projection, global passenger traffic is expected to reach 2019 levels in late 2023, with the full-year recovery to pre-pandemic levels in 2024. Looking to the longer-term, we project that passenger traffic will reach close to 18 billion globally by 2040.

Working towards our climate goal

Perhaps the largest milestone of the year took place in October at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 41st Assembly when the entire aviation community welcomed an agreement by governments to a long‑term goal of net zero carbon emissions for international aviation by 2050.

This is in line with the Paris Agreement and the industry’s own climate goal.

While this is a major achievement that brings governments and industry in alignment, ACI World is cognisant of the challenges airports face in reaching this goal despite their long‑standing dedication to lowering their carbon footprint. A key advocacy priority will now be to encourage and influence regulators to support airports’ work to develop and implement their decarbonisation action plans; strengthen collaboration among all stakeholders to increase the availability of renewable energy; and finance new technologies to support capacity building and to address operational and infrastructure adaptations.

Investing in infrastructure

Indeed, investment in existing and new infrastructure to meet growing air travel demand has long been a priority but has been magnified with the economic impact of COVID-19 on the health of the airport business. Fundamentally, airports will remain infrastructure-intensive businesses for the foreseeable future, and this translates into unavoidable high fixed costs that must be financed.

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