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Better passenger service essential to air transport growth

Speaking at the IATA/Asian Aerospace Aviation Summit here on 23 February 2004, ACI Director General Robert J. Aaronson challenged …

Speaking at the IATA/Asian Aerospace Aviation Summit here on 23 February 2004, ACI Director General Robert J. Aaronson challenged airlines to come to grips with their internal cost problems, while working collaboratively with airports to give passengers a better overall travel experience. Participating in a panel on the subject “Fixing the Business”, Aaronson acknowledged that all aviation stakeholders needed to drive down costs, but that for the airlines to blame airport and air navigation service charges for their financial woes was a specious argument. “Each of these two partners represent about 4% of airline total operating costs….obviously not the main problem” for the airlines.

Aaronson suggested a five-point action plan to assist the recovery of the air transport industry:

  • The airport/airline relationship needs to embrace an atmosphere of trust and transparency. Airport operators are “ready to change the risk-sharing relationship between themselves and the airlines.”
  • Airline managements in the past too often have ignored their relationships with airports. This attitude must change and both partners need to “focus intensely and cooperatively on giving passengers the type and quality of service that will support growth.”
  • Through dialogue at each airport, the partners often can reduce costs at airports through agreement on process improvement and re-evaluation of the services currently required. Shared and consolidated services could save money.
  • “Airports have an inherent obligation to serve their communities and regions as well as their airline partners. And they must take a longer view than airlines, because the development of critical infrastructure involves long lead times. This longer view is being taken: ACI’s member airports—after years of preparatory work–completed more new major runways in 2003 than in any previous year.”
  • Concluding, Aaronson emphasized that for airlines and airports “to attract more passengers—and even keep those we have—we must collaborate to provide better service. Today there are too many deficiencies in the services that we provide to passengers. They often are angry and ‘turned off.’ All that is needed to give them a better experience on the ground is serious joint effort by airlines and airports. I would not accept from airlines that they are too busy to work on this basic problem. We must indeed fix the business—or face the consequences.”

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.