World in motion: ACI News

We report on milestone appointments for ACI World and ACI Latin America & Caribbean, the end of year departure of Luis Felipe de Oliveira, the strengthening of ties with China’s airports and a round-table discussion in India.


Candace McGraw becomes first female chair of ACI World Governing Board

Candace McGraw, CEO of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), has become the first female chair of ACI World.

McGraw will head the ACI World Governing Board  (WGB) that consists of 28 leading airport CEOs nominated by the regional ACI Boards, plus the immediate past chair.

The ACI WGB directs the organisation through strategic discussions on key subjects for airport operators that reflect the concerns and interests of ACI members for the benefit of travellers and communities worldwide.

Her appointment was approved at the ACI World Annual General Assembly in Barcelona in June 2023, and she will hold the post until December 2025.

McGraw has been involved in the ACI WGB since 2018 and was appointed ACI World vice chair in January 2022, succeeding Sheikh Aimen bin Al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports.

Talking about her appointment, McGraw said: “I am honoured to serve as chair of the ACI World Governing Board. I thank Sheikh Aimen bin Al Hosni, our immediate past chair, for his leadership these past several years. Nothing is more important to me than the future of this industry.Whether thinking about the long-term needs of ACI, how we can be a strong partner in the global aviation industry, or what we can do to accelerate the adoption of practices to ensure sustainable aviation, we are stronger as one.

“I commit to lead our World Governing Board with a sense of purpose and collaboration and appreciate the trust that has been placed in me.”

ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “We are thrilled to welcome ACI World’s new chair, Candace McGraw. Guided by her vision, we are confident that our organisation will chart a course towards a bright future and unlock new horizons in our mission to elevate the interests of airports worldwide.”

McGraw became CEO of CVG in July 2011 and has over 30 years’ experience in aviation, legal affairs, and public administration.

As of January 2024, Jost Lammers, CEO of Munich Airport, succeeds McGraw as ACI World’s new vice chair, also for a two-year term running until December 2025.


Luis Felipe de Oliveira to bid farewell at end of year

This year will be the last one in the hot-seat for ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, who has announced his decision to step down from his role at the end of 2024.

His departure is driven by family reasons, as de Oliveira expresses his desire to return to Europe with his family after four impactful years at the helm of ACI World.

Taking on the role during the unprecedented challenges posed by the global pandemic, de Oliveira steered ACI World through the most severe crisis ever experienced in the aviation sector. While challenges remain in the airport industry and will require long-term attention, he leaves with a sense of mission accomplished, having elevated the organisation to new heights.

“Leading ACI World as director general over the past four years has been a great honour,” said de Oliveira. “The mission that ACI champions, the benefits it weaves for our global members, our devoted staff who bring its vision to life, and the boundless social and economic impact of a flourishing aviation industry, all stir the embers of my spirit.

“My commitment to this noble cause will remain steadfast in my final year as ACI World director general. It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure, but with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude to the organisation. As I reflect on my next professional chapter with my family, I’m filled with optimism and drive to tackle new challenges.”


ACI strengthens co-operation with Chinese airports

ACI World, ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East (ACI APAC & MID), and the China Civil Airports Association (CCAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the co-operation of Chinese airports.

The ACI-CCAA MoU will see the parties collaborate on several initiatives, including:

  • Airport customer experience through the ACI Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme
  • ACI Global Trainings and Assessments, including the APEX in Excellence peer assessment programme
  • Decarbonisation through the new ACI APAC & MID Net Zero Roadmap programme
  • ACI and CCAA events in China.

ACI APAC & MID director general, Stefano Baronci, said: “China will continue to be one of the most vibrant aviation markets, and is expected to contribute 21% to the additional growth in global traffic by 2041.

“In order to cater to this growth, Chinese airports must make substantial preparations for efficient operations, addressing evolving passenger needs, and implementing sustainable measures for environmental protection.

“We hope this MoU will further strengthen the already strong ties between our relationships with CCAA, and will serve as a platform to promote ACI programmes to the airports in China as part of our mission to promote excellence in airport operations and management.”

While ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, noted: “The re-opening of China in 2022, the second largest aviation market after the United States, remains a critical boost to global activity and to passenger traffic, both domestically within the Chinese aviation market and for international travel.

“The Asia-Pacific region, where China plays a key role, is expected to rebound in 2024, reaching 85.3% of 2019 levels. Our deepest gratitude to CCAA for its warm hospitality, as we look forward to fortifying our partnership in a multitude of ways, including enhancing the customer experience, honing professional skills and accreditations, championing decarbonisation and organising airport events around the world, with Chinese airports at the forefront.”


AERODOM’s Mónika Infante to lead ACI-LAC’s Board of Directors

Mónika Infante, CEO of Dominican Republic airport operator, AERODOM, is the new president of the Board of Directors of the ACI Latin America and Caribbean (ACI-LAC) for the term 2024-2025.

Infante, who is the first woman to lead the association since it was founded in 1991, described her appointment as an honour, and pledged to do her best to help build a more resilient and sustainable industry.

She enthused: “ACI-LAC is an effective and respected voice, acting as a unique centre of expertise. Looking to the future and its challenges, it reinforced the relevance of ACI-LAC to drive important initiatives together with all our partners, authorities and stakeholders in favour of liberalisation, sustainability and decarbonisation of the industry.”

ACI-LAC’s director general, Rafael Echevarne, said: “Mónika is the first woman to lead this organisation after serving in various roles on the ACI-LAC Board. I am sure that with her support and leadership our association will be full of new initiatives for the industry, our members and the region, especially in the areas of sustainability, innovation and technology, among others.”


On the road in India

ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East’s director general, Stefano Baronci, is pictured at Wings India 2024 in Hyderabad in early January, where he took part in a thought-provoking round-table discussion on ‘Airports of the Future: Driving Investments & Financing for Multimodal Connectivity’.

Baronci underscored the importance of enhancing international connectivity in India and learning from the best practices of airport competitors in the region and beyond. Making airports in India economically and environmentally sustainable can only be reached through an effective partnership between the aviation stakeholders, including the government.

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