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Big Interview

Dr Michael Kerkloh, president and CEO of Flughafen München GmbH (FMG), has experienced a long and illustrious career in aviation; the former president of ACI Europe has seen Munich Airport take the prize of ‘Best in Europe’ 11 times. As he prepares to step down from the role he has held since 2002, we discuss a life in airports, the changes he has witnessed and his expectations for the future of the industry.


Routes Europe, 8-10 April 2019

Design and Construction

Even in vast and architecturally striking spaces like airports, successful and passenger-friendly design often depends on the details: lighting, furniture choices, surface materials. We discuss the process that goes into creating intelligent and unified interior concepts with Dominic Harris of Cinimod Studio and Peter Farmer of Chapman Taylor.

With benefits that range from improving air quality to reducing passenger stress, it’s no wonder that gardens are increasingly present in airports. We talk to Alejandro Leon, deputy commissioner of design and construction at Chicago O’Hare, about the airport’s use of plants – including in a hydroponic garden – and the central role of green design in the ORD21 development plans.


Stories of disruption caused by illicit drone activity have appeared regularly over recent months. However, despite the technical challenges their presence causes, legitimate drones have much to offer airport operations. Chair of the IEEE-USA Committee on Transportation and Aerospace Policy and drone expert Philip Hall explains their benefits and how to coordinate drone activity with ATM.

The implementation of satellite communication promises to have significant effects across ATM, allowing increased accuracy, security and efficiency. The European Space Agency’s Iris Data Link Service (DLS) satellite system is currently being prepared for early implementation in 2020-21. We hear from Magali Vaissiere, director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at the ESA, about the implications of this technology.

Terminal Operations

Accessibility at airports remains a challenge for those with mobility issues or disabilities: a recent report from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority Operations has shown that while provisions are improving, much work remains to be done. Edinburgh Airport was designated ‘very good’ by the report, with facilities on offer including the Neatebox app for personalised assistance. We discuss the steps that have been taken and future improvements with chief executive Gordon Dewar.

Airports are set to become ever busier as passenger numbers continue to grow, and sophisticated and connected systems are required to keep everything flowing smoothly. We talk to Jeri Groce, the FAA’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM) programme manager, on how to implement joined-up thinking across the airport environment.

The day-to-day operation of an airport often provides enough challenges, but in some locations this is further complicated by the risk of natural disasters such as volcanic activity, earthquakes or flooding. We speak with experts at Hawaii’s Daniel K. Inouye International and San Francisco International to discuss the plans in place to manage emergency situations.


Scandinavian operators are pushing considerable route development, with new destinations across Europe and others further afield including Hong Kong, Florida and Texas. As Routes Europe lands in Norway, we discuss strategy and growth with Göran Jansson, deputy CEO & EVP strategy and ventures at Scandinavian Airlines and Asgeir Nyseth, chief operating officer at Norwegian Air.

Europe’s skies are seeing a trend towards consolidation as smaller operators struggle for success: recent casualties include WOW Air, Flybmi and Azur Air. The process could lead to fewer empty seats and possibly higher profits, but will there be costs in terms of service? We investigate with Simon McNamara, IATA’s UK and Ireland manager.


Food and beverage offerings in an airport environment have to be convenient, fresh and often portable. How can these demands be met while also prioritising sustainability? We talk to Liza Milagro, resilience and sustainability manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, where a composting and recycling facility has been created, and Ben Crowley, head of food and beverage at Heathrow, which now serves only sustainable fish.

Airside Operations

Electric vehicles are emerging for a wide variety of ground support operations, providing green credentials as well as efficiency. They form a key part of Bristol Airport’s carbon roadmap, which aims to see the airport become carbon neutral by 2025. We discuss the new ground vehicle strategy with chief executive officer Dave Lees.

Safety and Security

The rise of self-service and reduction of touchpoints in airports means that the first interaction between passengers and staff can often occur at security – a location in which passenger experience is rarely prioritised. Ian Cowie, director of customer operations at London City Airport, explains the issue and the ways safety and hospitality can be managed and combined.

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