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Global influence

ACI World’s deputy director general, Michael Rossell, reflects on the organisation’s close working relationship with ICAO and the importance of representing the interests of airports on the world stage.

The relationship between ICAO and ACI has never been stronger and this is the direct result of hard work from ACI staff and the many members who have become part of ACI delegations on working groups, committees and at the all-important panels. 

In recent years ICAO has realised the importance of engagement with the airport industry, and ACI has responded positively by increasing its level of commitment to the ICAO process. 

ACI’s subject matter experts are seen as providing unbiased, authoritative information on a wide range of airport related topics.

This success does not come overnight. We are approaching the 39th ICAO Assembly, which will take place in Montréal, Quebec, at the ICAO Headquarters from September 27 to October 7. 

It is expected to attract around 2,000 delegates from 191 Member States as well as representatives from other UN organisations, aviation industry representational organisations and from civil society. 

The Assemblies are held every three years, and meet to review progress made on a wide range of technical and policy issues. 

The key for ACI is that we have been part of the development of these issues over the years, so for the most part the Assembly is the formal adoption of Resolutions and working papers that already address airports’ concerns.

The upcoming Assembly will set ICAO’s policy direction for the next three years and agree the budget that will provide most, but not all, the necessary resources. This provides an opportunity for ACI to support ICAO where it helps airports and to advance our agenda on a range of issues. 

Prominent among these will be economic regulation, where we will be looking for a light touch; landside security, where we will need to be clear where the respective responsibilities lie between airport and national authority; safety of operations, especially with respect to the newly amended Global Aviation Safety Plan; and environmental protection, as we look at how we can work with ICAO to deliver ambitious local and global emissions reductions, while also reducing the noise impact on communities around airports.   

And so, once the delegates return to their home States we will stay, and the work will continue. We will keep engaging with ICAO to ensure that airports can continue to influence how the global regulatory environment for airports develops over the next 25 years. 

Timeline: ICAO milestones 1991–2016

1991 – ACI founded and makes an early impression at the ICAOConference on Airport and Route Facility Management.

1994 – Opening of ACI Liaison Office with ICAO in Montréal.

1995 – ACI plays active role in the ICAO AVSEC Panel and ICAO Panel of Experts on Navigation Services Economics.

1998 – Influence with ICAO continues to grow with the presentation of five position papers to its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) and recommendation that ICAO consult with airports over the introduction of satellite based communications

and air navigation technology (CNS/ATM).

2000 – ACI plays a major role in ICAO’s Conference of Airports and Air Navigation Services.

2006 – Roberto Kobeh becomes the first new president of ICAO for 30 years as Dr Assad Kotaite steps down.

2007 – In partnership with ICAO, ACI introduces the Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme (AMPAP) to help develop the next generation of airport leaders and senior managers.

2008 – ACI supports ICAO Conference on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services (CEANS), which sets the still current framework for airport charges.

2012 – ACI and ICAO sign a Memorandum of Cooperation on safety, preparing the way for ACI’s APEX in Safety.

2014 – ICAO holds its 20th Anniversary celebration in the former Stevens Hotel (now the Chicago Hilton) to commemorate the signing of the Chicago Convention.

2015 – ACI and ICAO sign a Memorandum of Understanding on security.

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