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Big Interview

Martin Eurnekian, scion of an Argentinian business dynasty and CEO of Corporación América Airports, has recently taken on the mantle of chair of the Airports Council International (ACI) World Governing Board. In an exclusive interview with Future Airport, Eurnekian discusses the challenges of meeting global demand for air travel at a time of critical importance for the industry, the value of collaboration to overcome disruption, and the role of the ACI in encouraging unity and providing leadership.

Design and Construction

Airports can provide a traveller with the first impression of the city and culture they are visiting, but all too often fail to convey a sense of identity cohesive with their location. David Ruiz-Celada, head of continuous improvement at London City Airport, and Kevin Patience, design director at The Design Studio, discuss the ambassadorial role an airport plays for the city it serves and the methods they are employing as London City Airport regenerates to become a reflection of modern London.

Airports are developing from transitional spaces to destinations in their own right. Breathtaking design and attractions such as swimming pools, gardens, museums and retail or food experiences are marking particular airports as must-see locations. We talk to Morikazu Chiku, senior managing director of facilities at Japan’s Haneda Airport, Ivy Wong, senior vice-president of strategy and transformation at Changi Airport Group, and Sarah Wittlieb, head of innovation management at Munich Airport, on how airports can be designed to supplant functionality with excitement and entertainment.

Air Traffic Control/Management

The technological sophistication, increased automation and rising connectivity of air traffic control systems can expose a weakness: vulernability to cyberattack. We discuss potential threats and the roles of government, regulators and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in managing them with Steve Carver, cyber committee chair at Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA), and Richard Morgan, director of national airspace security and enterprise operations at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Terminal Operations

As careful attention is focused on improving passenger flow, many airports are turning to refined cutting-edge technology, with innovations in areas ranging from wayfinding to information screens and retail configurations, to the ways that flow is monitored. We speak to Richard Curran, professor of air transport and operations at TU Delft, on the creative thinking shaping the future of airport operations.

Airport terminals can be challenging places for many, and for children, they’re often liable to be alternately boring, frustrating and frightening. However, taking their needs into account can make terminals a more pleasant environment for all passengers. We speak to Miriam Hoekstra-van der Deen, director of airport operations at Schiphol – renowned for its child-friendliness – on how to best cater to the youngest travellers and the benefits of this approach.

Routes: Asia

The Asia-Pacific region leads the way in global air traffic growth – a trend that is predicted to continue for decades to come. This development reflects socio-economic changes and will have significant ramifications for the area’s economy, infrastructure and environment. We investigate current and forecasted trends in passenger and cargo traffic with Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice-president for Asia Pacific.

India is predicted to become the world’s third-largest aviation market by 2024, with traveller demand rising rapidly. While the current availability of long-haul budget seats is limited, low-cost Indian carriers are expected to lead expansion of routes across the globe and open up a new vista for international travel to and from the subcontinent. We speak to SpiceJet’s chief strategy officer GP Gupta, and William Boulter, IndiGo’s chief commercial officer, about the low-cost market’s potential to revolutionise the country’s long-haul offerings.

Airside Ops

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionise airfield efficiency, replacing vehicles that are often unused and stationary. With uses ranging from transporting passengers and staff to collecting baggage and conducting airfield maintenance, these vehicles also promise enhancements to sustainability and safety. We hear from Barbara Demaire, senior project manager at Brussels Airport Company, on the innovations currently being tested

Environment

The large footprint of airports and their location on the fringes of urban areas means, through careful management, they can make positive contributions to the preservation of local habitats. We discuss the ways airports can act responsibly towards their local natural environment with Adam Cheeseman, London Heathrow’s biodiversity manager.

Safety

Baggage screening is set for an upgrade as increasing numbers of airports trial the use of computer tomography. CT scanners produce 3D images of a bag’s contents that can be manipulated and examined from different angles, which can enable passengers to leave liquids and laptops in their luggage. We discuss this development with Simon Gandy, chief of aviation at Melbourne Airport, where a trial is currently under way.

Winter

For airports subject to harsh winter conditions, de-icing procedures are vital for safe travel, but the increasing pressure to provide more capacity requires this process to be as efficient as possible. We talk to officials at Chicago O’Hare International about the importance of updating facilities, the new technologies changing aircraft de-icing, and how to maintain and improve both safety and out-to-off times.

Winter storms can wreak havoc on airport operations, with blizzard conditions resulting in flooding and power outages as well as heavy snowfall and high winds. Dealing with storms requires meticulous forward planning and the ability to learn from past events. We speak to officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on how airports can prepare for these extreme and unpredictable weather events.



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