ACI helps airport executives soar to greater heights

Posted: 7 March 2012 | ACI | No comments yet

ACI is proud to celebrate six years of helping airport executives achieve professional and industry excellence with its AELP…

Airports Council International (ACI) logo

Airports Council International (ACI) is proud to celebrate six years of helping airport executives achieve professional and industry excellence with its Airport Executive Leadership Programme (AELP).

Debuting in 2006 as a means of answering the airport industry’s need for an executive level leadership training programme, the AELP was born from a strategic partnership between ACI and Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB). Today, the programme’s faculty includes Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International and six other prominent leaders who hold PhDs in their respective fields of expertise.

Since its inception, the AELP has established itself as the gold standard in executive training by providing students with the essential airport leadership skills to thrive as senior executives in positions such as chief executive officers, deputy chief executive officers and vice-presidents.

Over the years, the programme has also provided students with the strategic multidisciplinary competencies and expertise to manage airports, where the development of new and diverse commercial revenue streams and the need to position airports as a key driver of economic, community and social development is increasingly required in complex and competitive global markets.

From the perspective of airport succession planning, the AELP has proven itself to be an essential tool in helping airports prepare for the retirement of its senior executives in light of a rapidly aging workforce.

Above and beyond delivering on its promise of professional and industry excellence, ACI is especially proud that in its six year history the programme has provided students with unmatched, lifelong professional networking opportunities by membership in a global community of senior airport executives and CEOs.

On the present and future of the AELP, Angela Gittens, ACI World Director General, stated, “I am very impressed by the leadership role played by the programme over the past six years in helping executives develop to their fullest potential. The programme provides the necessary framework for students to master sophisticated topics in airport management and acquire the skills to confidently wear the hat of business executives and community leaders; such expertise is essential in today’s dynamic world of airports. We have continuously improved the curriculum to remain at the leading edge of strategic airport leadership.”

Graduate Testimonials

Rodolfo E. Echeverria, IAP; Chief Financial Officer, Queen Alia International Airport/Airport International Group:

“The AELP program has been one of the most revealing experiences on the Executive training. Not only we explored Leadership concepts, but we learnt about ourselves as leaders, our style and how we may use this knowledge to interact with our environment to maximize our strengths and mitigate our weakness. One of the most interesting part as well was what I recalled as reverse GAP analysis to situate yourself where you want to be or where you want to take your organization and build the GAP analysis from that point to today using disrupting and systemic thinking in the process. A real Executive Group was attending, who brought expertise from different parts of the world resulting in a cross cultural exchange of experiences and knowledge. The program makes you understand how to improve your management skills and move to the next level and to use your leadership skills to take the rest of the world with you on your journey.

Patti Edwards, IAP; Chief Operations Officer, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport:

Participating in the AELP was a valuable tool to expand my leadership skills and it created a gateway to expand my network of colleagues. The team building exercises provides opportunities to work with members from different parts of the world which enables you to see issues from new perspectives, thus expanding your options for solutions. This program points to key elements required to be a better, more effective leader. Taking the information gained during the self-evaluation session helps provide you with a new approach to dealing with the different personalities, skill sets, and abilities of your team. The program’s instructors and the airport executives that participate in panels are experts in sharing better ways to analyse and identify your strengths and weaknesses. I left the program feeling that I was better equipped with tools to not only improve communications within my work group, but to improve the overall output of the group through better and more effective leadership. I would highly recommend this program not only to those new to executive roles, but those who desire to expand their visions of what great leaders should be.

Robinson Chiseng’a Misitala, IAP; Managing Director, National Airports Corporation Limited, Lusaka, Zambia; and ACI World Governing Board Member:

“When I first started my career in aviation as an Airworthiness Inspector in 1994, I must admit that I never thought that one day I will end up to be an accomplished Chief Executive Officer of an airport company and an International Airport Professional. The AELP gave me a platform for sharing industry experiences past, present and future. The sharing of different experiences among airport colleagues made me appreciate how other airports operate in different parts of the world.

The opportunity of meeting, interacting and networking with other airport professionals around the World is one of the many benefits I achieved from the programme. The programme further allowed us as airport leaders to share our successes and challenges in order to learn from others and prepare ourselves in this new airport environment where airports have changed from being places of transportation to huge commercial enterprises where we are required to overcome the existing barriers in management styles, leadership concepts, languages and cultural barriers. Therefore, I highly recommend that top management of airports must consider allowing their junior airport leaders to participate in ACI-ICAO Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme in order to develop the talent of these future professionals.”

To learn more about the Airport Executive Leadership Programme (AELP), visit:

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