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SAFETY & SECURITY Last modified on September 28, 2016

Safety first

Danny Boutin, ACI World’s senior manager, APEX programmes, discusses airport excellence in safety.

The creation of ACI’s Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety was conceived under ACI’s mission of promoting airport excellence. 

The programme was designed to provide assistance for ACI members to improve their level of safety and compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices. 

It offers host airports an on-site safety review performed by the ACI Safety Review Team, consisting of active airport professionals. The team identifies safety gaps and develops an action/implementation plan to address these gaps, helping the host airport achieve certification if need be. 

ACI also assists throughout the implementation phase by providing support, training and access to a global network of expertise.

Since the programme’s launch in 2011, we have had close to 60 reviews performed worldwide and have built a pool of over 130 safety assessors from over 60 different airports and international organisations. 

Coming from different regions and different size airports ranging from 100,000 to over 90 million passengers a year, the APEX assessors contribute immensely to the success of the programme by sharing their knowledge and promoting airport safety management excellence.

This year, APEX has been tackling many new initiatives. In March 2016, we launched the APEX Safety Assessor Training programme for the African region, where selected candidates are trained to become accredited APEX assessors. This will enable them to join the APEX team on missions to selected airports and will contribute to creating expertise in the region. 

The first course will take place in the third quarter of 2016 and extend to other regions in the years to come.

As APEX continues to grow, we have sought new collaborations. For instance, the World Bank fully financed the APEX review in Cairo, Egypt, in May 2015, and also sponsored the progress review of the action plan created in April 2016. 

This collaboration resulted in many good opportunities for our membership and we look forward in continuing this important co-operation.

A partnership agreement was also signed with the European Aviation Safety Agency who will provide funding assistance in Central and West Africa so that airports in developing countries can benefit from the programme.

ACI has also trialled an APEX in Security Pilot Review in Mauritius earlier this year and we are pleased to report that it was a great success. 

With the growing interest in peer reviews, this pilot demonstrated that other areas need to be explored, such as environment and information technology. 

Looking ahead, APEX will be placing more emphasis on data collection. While remaining confidential, collected data from our missions will help identify safety gaps and areas of improvement in each of the regions, enabling ACI to better target the needs for assistance and create the most appropriate training. 

It will also provide valuable information for the ACI Safety and Technical Standing Committee to evaluate the need for handbooks and other tools such as best practices for the benefit of the industry at large. 

As we tackle the next quarter century, APEX will continue to promote excellence and ensure that airports grow stronger, together.

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