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The official publication of ACI Asia-Pacific

Passenger facilitation: The battle against COVID-19 Issue theme: Passenger facilitation In the spotlight: Sustainable design

Issue 2, 2020

Special report: China’s aerotropolis projects Plus: Airport retail & Industry news

Published by


Asia-Pacific Airports Issue 2, 2020

Passenger facilitation: The battle against COVID-19 Issue theme: Passenger facilitation In the spotlight: Sustainable design

Plus: Airport retail & Industry news

6 View from the top

20 Touchless travel

Director general, Stefano Baronci, reflects on the impact of COVID-19, ACI Asia-Pacific’s recent virtual Regional Board meeting and Assembly, new Strategic Plan and a host of other issues.

24 Global effort

Collaboration and co-operation will prove key to overcoming COVID-19, although aviation potentially faces a long road to recovery, writes Inderjit Singh.

28 Road to recovery

Cameron Mann considers the impact COVID-19 is likely to have on passenger facilitation at airports as the industry strives to provide a safe and secure aviation ecosystem.

16 Changing times

Published by

Airports are leaders in the use of new technology, which will make touchless travel possible and hasten aviation’s recovery from COVID-19, writes Collins Aerospace’s Tony Chapman.

10 ACI Asia-Pacific news Communications manager, Samantha Solomon, reports on 2020's Green Airports Recognition and Young Executive of the Year award winners; a LinkedIn milestone and the formation of a Regional COVID-19 Taskforce.

Issue 2, 2020

Special report: China’s aerotropolis projects

Joe Bates provides a snapshot of how the region’s airports have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and are planning for a brighter future.


The official publication of ACI Asia-Pacific




CONTENTS 32 Playing the long game

Sustainable design must be high on the agenda of the world’s airports post COVID-19 to enable the industry to build back better, writes Roger Swinbourne, Arup's sustainability leader for the Australasia region.

36 Talking shop

Sunil Tuli, president of the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) and group chief executive of King Power Group (Hong Kong) shares an industry perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asia-Pacific Airports (APA) Editor Joe Bates +44 (0)1276 476582 Design, Layout & Production Mark Draper +44 (0)208 707 2743

APA Issue 2, 2020

Published by Aviation Media Ltd PO BOX 448, Feltham, TW13 9EA, UK Managing Director Jonathan Lee +44 (0)208 707 2743 Advertising Manager Jonathan Lee +44 (0)208 707 2743

38 China's aerotropolis ambitions

Mainland China has fully embraced the aerotropolis concept with over 100 hugely ambitious projects now underway across the country, writes Dr John Kasarda.

40 Industry news News, views and reviews from ACI’s regional and global World Business Partners.

Subscriptions subscriptions@ +44 (0)208 707 2743

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Asia-Pacific Airports (APA) is published four times a year for the members of ACI Asia-Pacific. The opinions and views expressed in APA are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect an ACI policy or position. The content of this publication is copyright of Aviation Media Ltd and should not be copied or stored without the express permission of the publisher.




VIEW FROM THE TOP Director general, Stefano Baronci, reflects on the impact of COVID-19, ACI Asia-Pacific’s recent virtual Regional Board meeting and Assembly, new Strategic Plan and a host of other issues.


rom a period of sustained passenger traffic growth in 2019 to the halfway point of 2020, the industry is now in survival mode, crippled by the loss of passenger traffic and revenues by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second quarter of this year saw the pandemic really take hold globally, and to say the least, the impact has shocked our industry to its core, with ACI forecasting that COVID-19 will cost our region’s airports around $36.4 billion in revenue and some two billion passengers in 2020. As you would expect, ACI Asia-Pacific has initiated a number of activities to support our members during these most challenging of times. APA Issue 2, 2020

These include the assembly of a COVID-19 Task Force made up of more than 30 representatives from member airports and World Business Partners. In a short amount of time, the Task Force produced a number of helpful materials to document the measures taken by airports and the impact on operations. Many of you have also engaged with our Economics team to provide input for a new Weekly Traffic Tracker. Receiving this preliminary data from you has proven enormously helpful as it has allowed us to tell the world about the significant decline in traffic and the potential consequences for our region. Leveraging the power of social channels, our communications team has amplified the



Despite our best efforts, we weren't able to keep the 15th ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, Conference & Exhibition on the 2020 calendar, as in conjunction with host, Kansai Airports, we made the difficult decision to cancel the conference and exhibition portions of the event. It was a huge disappointment for all concerned, but I’ve no doubt that we will have the honour of Kansai Airports hosting our annual flagship event in the future. As a result of the decision, the annual Assembly for members, an essential meeting

for airports and other stakeholders to engage with our association, was transformed into a virtual event using video conferencing technology. Prior to the virtual Assembly, the Regional Board conducted its spring meeting – postponed from April to June – as this was the first opportunity for members to meet the new ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira. A key agenda item was the review and approval of our Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2023. When we issued a survey to our airport members and World Business Partners to gain input on the new strategic plan, the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had not shown itself yet. It quickly became clear that business as usual was not an option and the plan would need to be flexible to adapt to the crisis, without jeopardising the long-term goals of the association. The Board concurred to put the focus for the period 2020-2023 on the elements of advocacy, communications and evolving the capacity of ACI Asia-Pacific to strategically align with the interest of our members. In the short-term or until aviation’s recovery stabilises, ACI Asia-Pacific has shifted its priorities to rebuilding passenger confidence; advocating for relief for the airport sector; supporting our members with guidance for the recovery; and showing the public that airports are responsibly adapting to the new travel norms. During the Assembly, members unanimously elected new Board members and officers. We are particularly grateful to Seow Hiang Lee, CEO of Changi Airport Group, for taking on another two-year term as president of ACI Asia-Pacific.


ACI recently published its always eagerly anticipated annual listing for the top twenty busiest airports in the world. Not surprisingly, the 2019 list for passenger traffic and cargo volumes included many of our region’s member airports.


variety of measures our airport members have undertaken, and continue to undertake, to ensure the safety of passengers and staff from COVID-19. A Communicators’ Network, consisting of public relations and communications professionals, was created to enhance the sharing of news and information. We have also significantly increased our media outreach issuing press releases and conducting interviews with both trade and mainstream media to show the dramatic impact on airports. We’ve also stepped up our advocacy efforts reaching out to governments and regulators of numerous countries to highlight the impact of the pandemic on the sector and providing recommendations for relief efforts. As I write this article, we are rapidly approaching the third quarter, and with somewhat of a sense of relief, I believe that we are starting to see signs of recovery. Domestic traffic in some countries is resuming and traffic corridors, or bubbles, are being established. However, international travel remains of concern with travel bans still in effect in many parts of the world, hampering the recovery. Suffice to say the recovery period will be lengthy, and we have to remain focused to regain the confidence of travellers and encourage them to take to the skies again.




VIEWPOINT In fact, ten members made it into the top 20 of total passenger traffic and 11 into the top 20 for cargo volumes. Well done to all! While these kind of lists are a great moment to celebrate, it reinforces the importance of our region's airports on the global movement of people and freight.


Over the last quarter, our environmental team has been busy analysing the results of the third biennial environmental survey. We thank you for participating in this survey, which is used to build a database of ongoing environmental activities and policies in the region. The survey showed that energy, waste, and water management continue to be the top three environmental management priorities of airports. Also noteworthy is the fact that respondents identified emerging issues such as adapting to climate change and tackling single-use plastic as rising priorities. Documenting environmental best practices is the aim of the annual APA Issue 2, 2020

Green Airports Recognition programme. It is customary to honour the top entries at our annual Assembly, but due to its cancellation, we asked the recognised airports to submit photos showcasing the people behind the achievements. You can see some of those images on the ACI news pages of this issue. You can also read about the innovations in water management in the Green Airports Recognition publication on our website.


As you have already read, the pandemic is driving us to do things differently than before. The first virtual Assembly, a virtual introduction of our new ACI World director general and, in a first for Asia-Pacific Airports magazine, our first digital only issue. In the continuous journey to reduce our impact on the environment, we will pursue paperless options for our publications. We hope you enjoy reading this edition on your device of choice and thank you for your trust in our association. Ciao!






Regional update Communications manager, Samantha Solomon, reports on 2020's Green Airports Recognition and Young Executive of the Year award winners; a LinkedIn milestone and the formation of a Regional COVID-19 Taskforce.

VIRTUAL CELEBRATION FOR GREEN AIRPORT RECOGNITION WINNERS Take a bow Kaohsiung International Airport (Kaohsiung City, Chinese Taipei), Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad, India) and Taoyuan International Airport (Taoyuan City, Chinese Taipei), for receiving the top Platinum award in our annual Green Airports Recognition programme. The trio, who fittingly all received their accolades in virtual presentations in time for World Environment Day, were recognised for their significant efforts in water management. Six other airports received Gold or Silver recognition for their efforts in the same area, with everyone's collective initiatives essentially focused on waste water treatment, water harvesting, water recycling and water reduction. Taoyuan International Airport scooped Platinum in the Over 35 million passengers per annum category where Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport (Gold) and Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji APA Issue 2, 2020

Maharaj International Airport (Silver) were also recognised. Hyderabad-Rajiv Gandhi International Airport gained Platinum recognition in the 15 to 35mppa category ahead of Muscat International Airport (Gold) and BengaluruKempegowda International Airport (Silver). While Kaohsiung International Airport (Platinum), Adelaide Airport (Gold) and Sharjah Airport (Silver) triumphed in the category for airports handling less than 15 million passengers per annum. “World Environment Day is a fitting day to thank all participating airports for their ongoing commitment and contribution to environmental protection,” said ACI AsiaPacific’s director general, Stefano Baronci. “The Green Airports Recognition programme fits perfectly into this context by encouraging airport operators across the region and globally to share environmental best practices.”


We are deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely passing away of Mr Faiz Khan, CEO of Fiji Airports and ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Board director. On behalf of the Regional Board, Regional Office and all ACI Asia-Pacific members, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at Fiji Airports.


FIRST VICE PRESIDENT Emmanuel Menanteau*

(Changi Airport Group Pte Ltd, Singapore)

(Cambodia Airports, Cambodia)

SECOND VICE PRESIDENTS SGK Kishore HE Ali Salim Al Midfa (Sharjah Airport Authority, UAE)

(GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, Hyderabad, India)

SECRETARY-TREASURER Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed Al Hosni*

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid**

(Oman Airports Management Company, Oman)

(GMR Airports Limited, India)


Mohamed Yousif Al-Binfalah (Bahrain Airport Company SPC, Bahrain)

Kjeld Binger (Airport International Group, Jordan)

Akihiko Tamura (Narita International Airport Corporation, Japan)

Yoshiyuki Yamaya

Geoff Culbert*

(Kansai Airports, Japan)

(Sydney Airport, Australia)

Kejian Zhang

Gert-Jan de Graaff

(Guangdong Airport Authority, China)

(Brisbane Airport Corporation PTY Limited, Australia)

Bon Hwan Koo (Incheon International Airport Corporation, South Korea)

Fred Lam

The Green Airports Recognition programme is designed to promote best practices to minimise aviation’s impact on the environment and recognise ACI Asia-Pacific's members for outstanding accomplishments in their environmental projects. All submissions are available in the Green Airports Recognition 2020 publication, publicly available on the ACI Asia-Pacific website.

(Korea Airports Corporation, South Korea)

WBP REPRESENTATIVE Greg Fordham (Airbiz Aviation Strategies Pty Ltd, Australia)

(Airport Authority Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR)


Yun Qin

(General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia)

(Shanghai Airport Authority, China) (Tahiti Airport, French Polynesia)

Xue Song Liu

Nitinai Sirismatthakarn (Airports of Thailand, Thailand)

* WGB member

Videh Kumar Jaipuriar Delhi International Airport Ltd, India)

Jean-Michel Ratron

(Beijing Capital International Airport Co Ltd, China)

**Regional Advisor on WGB






SECTION ACI ASIA-PACIFIC TITLE NEWS YOUNG EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR Central Japan International Airport’s Masahito Nakashima has won ACI Asia-Pacific’s Young Executive of the Year Award for 2020. Nakashima, an assistant manager at the airport located 35 kilometres south of Nagoya, narrowly beat Naveen Raja Kannamala, an aero commercial manager at GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, and security executive, Abhishek Kumar, from Mumbai International Airport Ltd, to win the prize. Introduced in 2009, the ACI Asia-Pacific Young Executive of the Year Award is an annual research paper competition designed to encourage young talents in the Asia-Pacific region to contribute innovative solutions to current aviation industry issues. This year’s topic was the ‘Future of Airport Security’. “The panel of judges and I were very pleased to see the high standard of submissions, as it

shows that we have many bright, young talents in our region who are passionate about the aviation industry,” enthuses Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed Al-Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports and secretary treasurer of ACI Asia-Pacific. Nakashima received a $1,000 cash award and a full fellowship to the Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme (AMPAP), a joint ACI/ICAO programme to develop the next generation of airport leaders in all functional areas of the airport business and promote the adherence to the highest professional standards and effective sharing of best managerial practices. Under normal circumstances, the Young Executive of the Year is recognised during the ACI Asia-Pacific’s regional Assembly. As the event was cancelled due to the global pandemic, the winner received the award and certificate via post.

LINKEDIN CHANNEL REACHES 6,000 FOLLOWERS ACI Asia-Pacific's LinkedIn page has an impressive 6,000 followers just 14 months after being launched. Connecting with members and the broader airport and aviation industry is a key strategic imperative for the association. “We launched the LinkedIn page in an effort to engage with our members and aviation professionals beyond the legacy channels. Through social channels, we can celebrate the many achievements of airports around the APA Issue 2, 2020

region as well as the progress we’re making at ACI Asia-Pacific to advance the interests of our members,” said ACI Asia-Pacific’s head of communications and events, Jeannie Wong. “We are very grateful to all our followers for joining our LinkedIn channel and making this milestone happen.” In addition to the LinkedIn page, interested parties can also follow ACI Asia-Pacific on Twitter under the handle @ACIAPAC.



SECTION ACI ASIA-PACIFIC TITLE NEWS ACI ASIA-PACIFIC IN CONVERSATION WITH THE MEDIA Aviation has been among the hardest-hit sectors as a result of the pandemic. To create awareness of the severity of the situation, ACI Asia-Pacific turned to the media to provide regular updates showing the rapid decline in traffic and provide policy solutions. In an online conversation with the regional trade publication Asian Aviation, the association’s director general, Stefano Baronci, painted a picture of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East airport market through the analogy of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good was described in terms of the ten years of tremendous growth in the region leading up to 2020. The bad started to take hold in January with the outbreak of the virus, first in

Asia-Pacific and then the rest of the world, with dramatic drops in traffic and revenue. “What we are facing now is the ugly,” noted Baronci, as he described estimates for year-end traffic losses amounting to around 60% for Asia-Pacific airports and 53% for Middle East airports. Combined, airports in these regions are forecasted to lose $36.4 billion for during the calendar year. "This is unchartered territory for our members,” he concluded. Since the outbreak of the virus, ACI AsiaPacific has engaged with numerous news media outlets including CNBC, South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal and trade publications Duty Free News International, FlightGlobal and International Airport Review.

REGIONAL COVID-19 TASK FORCE SPRINGS INTO ACTION To deal with the rapidly evolving effects of the pandemic on airports, ACI Asia-Pacific gathered together representatives from airport members and World Business Partners to facilitate the swift exchange of operational knowledge. The Task Force quickly pulled together an overview of common measures that airports were deploying to prevent the spread of the virus. The Task Force then turned its attention to document the impact of the virus on airport operations and business, identifying six main areas. These areas were then assessed for the level of impact of each measure, ranging from low APA Issue 2, 2020

to high and the impact assessment was shared with policymakers and airport operators for reference in the formulation of policy to help the industry recover. “The ACI Asia-Pacific COVID-19 Task Force has proven to be a very effective structure to share knowledge and learn from each other,” said Tony Sewell, general manager of operations at Perth Airport and chair of the Task Force. “The documents that have been produced are based on actual airport experiences.” All documents are available from the Regional Office on request.





Changing times Cameron Mann considers the impact COVID-19 is likely to have on passenger facilitation at airports as the industry strives to provide a safe and secure aviation ecosystem.


viation continues to advocate for a risk-based approach to security, which effectively involves concentrating on and understanding individuals, and spending the most time dealing with those you know least about or those that represent the greatest perceived risk. This approach ensures that low risk travellers get the most expedited experience and the security system can then spend the time and resources where the risk is greatest. I believe the same risk-based approach can be adopted for dealing with the health threat, especially if it is layered, as APA Issue 2, 2020

recommended by ACI and IATA who have released guidance on the range of actions available to airports and airlines. ACI notes: “Increasing flight operations will require a multi-layered collaborative approach, a focus on a health culture, preventative measures, and riskassessment approach, with the option for seamless health screening that can avoid potential direct impact on airport operations.� The approaches will vary by airport and jurisdiction, so in this article I will endeavour to outline some of the possible new measures that we can expect to be introduced at airports going forward.


OFF AIRPORT Booking: Airlines can incorporate health risk assessments into the booking process. This could include warnings and track and trace app requirements. Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages over 100 airports across the nation, has mandated the use of the tracking app, Aarogya Setu. At least 40 countries have deployed or are developing government sponsored track and trace apps, and in some, such as China, it is a mandatory requirement. New Zealand also requires its visitors to use the app, while most have opted for voluntary use of the tool. A traveller’s digital identity can become the focal point for the management of health information. Digital identity in a decentralised form allows users to retain biometric information on their own device and shared at the owners’ discretion.

Health status can be linked to the digital identity to facilitate a smoother passenger experience. It is already recognised that most travellers are prepared to share their biometric information for an improved frictionless travel experience. The Passenger Name Record (PNR) created through the booking process provides the first opportunity to incorporate health information as part of the traveller’s booking information. Check-in: The check-in process is being pushed off airport using web and app interfaces. At this point in the passenger journey, confirmation of a track and trace capability could be part of the check-in process. Questions can be asked on health history relating to symptoms of COVID-19 and known contact history. All this informs the risk picture of the traveller to assess the individual that will then drive processes during the on-airport experience. Biometrics (particularly facial recognition) and the digital identity support the contactless journey. Travel to the airport: Once leaving home there are some enduring requirements throughout the passenger journey. Social distancing and in situations where you can’t maintain social distancing then the use of PPE, particularly protective masks, is highly recommended.

ON AIRPORT (LANDSIDE) Airport Enrolment: Much of the airport infrastructure and processes will become challenged to maintain physical distancing especially when passenger numbers start to recover. Many airports and airlines are already mandating or strongly recommending the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as part of staff and passenger health and safety measures.


The focus on social distancing, where achievable, remains. However, when this is not possible, what options are available to manage the risk? Making the journey contactless is a clear focus. Airports are looking at ways to remove the requirement to touch surfaces and, if this is required, then increasing the cleaning regimes to manage the risk of surface transmission during the journey. At an individual level, the wearing of a protective mask can help mitigate close/ direct contact, reducing the opportunity for transmission of respiratory droplets, provided it is part of a series of measures, as masks alone are not the solution. For now anyway, both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) recommend that passenger and people within the airport and aircraft wear medical face masks. If we remain focused on the passenger journey, we can discuss how this is impacted.





Some examples, Emirates are providing passengers with a personal hygiene pack, as is Qantas, while United, Delta and American are providing masks. Enrolment ensures that the airport knows when you are physically present, meaning that it can provide adequate resources at each passenger touchpoint across the terminal and airport campus. Enrolment could occur as part of the self-service kiosks or bag drop facilities. Or with a digital identity, and connected to the right platform, this could occur from the traveller’s device, sharing credentials to complete the enrolment process. Bag drop: Bag drop benefits from the use of upstream check-in to make the process of printing bag tags and dropping the bag a seamless one.

ON AIRPORT (AIRSIDE) Security checkpoint: The use of integrated checkpoints can offer airports the opportunity to streamline this activity and provide the highest security screening while managing touchpoints to reduce the health risk. Computed tomography (CT) offers benefits over conventional X-rays as everything stays in the bag, this makes the process simpler, reducing the number of trays passengers need to handle. With the use of remote screening, this reduces security staff in the checkpoint, APA Issue 2, 2020

improves checkpoint efficiency and reduces transmission risks. With an automated tray return system this also reduces staff contact. There are solutions being developed to use UV-C light, which can sanitise trays during the return process. The UV-C light in the wavelength and intensity required needs to be enclosed to avoid contact with eyes and skin as sustained exposure causes damage. High energy sources are not new in the checkpoint as X-rays have similar restrictions. UV-C light is an effective way to sanitise trays, particularly as a study of contact surfaces in airports proved trays to be a significant touchpoint where transfer could occur. Therefore, taking a risk mitigation action here as part of an already existing process makes good operational sense. The divest process is a point where social distancing becomes challenged. Potential options going forward are to use every second divest bay and/or use Perspex barriers between divest points, thereby limiting passenger transfer opportunities. The incorporation of biometrics in the checkpoint provides opportunities around understanding and managing risk, the same holds true for the health risk management. Temperature check: The commentary on temperature checks is divided in its utility. Asymptomatic carriers are somewhere between 15-50% of the infected



Point of care testing: The final layer can be Point-Of-Care testing, which involves conducting a test and receiving a result prior to boarding the aircraft. As with the security system, these More Stringent Measures (MSM) are only applied where the risk is seen as high. IATA in its outline for the industry re-start advocates for a suitable point of care test. Testing and screening for the general population has been focused on large scale laboratory based tests. However, there are molecular based tests, such as the Abbott Laboratories ID NOW platform, which can have results within between 5-15 minutes, making the tool suitable for on airport use for higher risk passengers. Border control: Using the digital identity, border control can be touchless and may present a suitable contact point where passengers receive any final health review and advice. Boarding: The use of the digital identity is again used this time to facilitate touchless boarding through e-gates.


For transit airports, mutual recognition of standards for security and health screening provides the best opportunity to deliver


community, so a temperature check does nothing to provide an indication for this section of the population. However, this also means between 50-85% of the infected population is symptomatic and may have an elevated temperature. When you have a layered screening system, temperature checks can be one measure that helps identify higher risk travellers. Other layers such as health questionnaires, travel history and the track and trace apps then provide a more comprehensive understanding of risk and allow the more effective management and reduction in the transfer of the virus.

the outcome as efficiently as possible. This relies on having a standard and then the consistent use of the standard. ICAO have been tasked with developing the global standard for the safe re-start of aviation. The sharing of information allows transit passengers to forgo transit security screening, prior to the shutdown there were already instances of this occurring through the use of the OneID program on the SingaporeAmsterdam route for passengers transiting through Schiphol to other European destinations. At primarily Origin and Destination (O&D) airports, for passenger arrivals the sharing of information again underpins the opportunity to have a significantly smoother inbound clearance experience. Advance Passenger Information (API) and PNR are already established systems for the format and transfer of passenger data allowing Border Agencies to make access decisions. In the short-term using these existing systems and agreeing additional fields relating to health risk is likely the fastest way to support change.


What is clear is that the aviation ecosystem needs to identify and implement ways of maintaining the health and safety of both passengers and staff. As mentioned above, this will involve overlaying a series of measures which understand and address the risk. Doing this will instil confidence in aviation’s recovery efforts and, in time, ensure that passenger numbers continue to grow. About the author Cameron Mann is an airport security, screening and passenger flow expert and the former global market director for aviation at Smiths Detection.





Touchless travel Airports are leaders in the use of new technology, which will make touchless travel possible and hasten aviation’s recovery from COVID-19, writes Collins Aerospace’s Tony Chapman.


here was a time not long ago when commercial airline passengers arrived early at airports to shop at high-end boutiques, eat at nice restaurants and enjoy a cocktail before their flights. Indeed, the airport visit was often viewed as the start of an adventure and passengers looked forward to these pre-departure activities as a fun and relaxing way to begin their journeys. ACI World’s recently released Airport Economics 2020 Report, notes that retail concessions remain the biggest source of non-aeronautical revenue for airports, accounting for 28.9% of all non-aviation related income in 2018. That was then. This is now. COVID-19 has changed our world.


ACI Asia-Pacific has announced that it expects the region’s airports to lose two billion passengers and close to $40 billion in revenue in 2020. While no one has a crystal ball, what is crystal clear is that the global airport industry will continue to struggle until APA Issue 2, 2020

passengers feel safe and confident to travel again. If no solution is implemented, airport revenue may lag the return of the commercial air transport industry, as passengers avoid airport boutiques, restaurants and bars altogether and plan just-in-time arrivals. Make no mistake about it, because of the number of people who normally cycle through global airports daily – and the close proximity of passengers to each other at numerous airport touchpoints – airports are one of the key battlegrounds in the fight against COVID-19.


To ensure that the global airport industry gets back on its feet as quickly as possible, one area for the industry’s overarching focus is to ensure that airports are no longer defined by interminable, seemingly endless lines of passengers in close contact with each other. Passengers must feel safe and confident to travel again; long, slow moving lines, accomplish exactly the opposite.



Biometrics is not a new technology. It’s already in use at airports around the world, primarily for immigration and border control. But when leading-edge biometric technology overlays each airport touchpoint so that a passenger’s face becomes that passenger’s identification – instead of a driver’s license, passport or boarding pass – all airport touchpoints become part of a single end-to-end biometric journey that is touchless, seamless and faster. And that is new. It could be a gamechanger in the war on COVID-19 and enabling passenger safety and confidence. The ideal airport encompasses a fully connected journey made possible through a cloud environment with ironclad security and robust identity management. This, in turn, decreases the length of lines and the time passengers spend in lines. In one recent test of biometric technology used for boarding, the time it took for an international traveller to walk up to an automated boarding gate, allow it to capture their biometrics, send the biometrics to a matching database at the CBP Traveller Verification Service, confirm the match, and send that notification back to the airline departure control system that allowed the gate to open and register the passenger as boarding, was, astonishingly, four seconds.


After all the media public service announcements and celebrity reminders to wash our hands, wear face masks, disinfect everything, and use common sense, the answer for the airport industry may be leading-edge technology. And, specifically, technology that enables a touchless travel experience. The IATA illustration above shows the major touchpoints of a passenger’s journey from the moment they enter the airport to the departure gate. Each touchpoint can be seen as a crucial engagement in the airport’s overall war against the virus. The outcome of the battle at one touchpoint determines whether a departing passenger moves forward safely and confidently to the next touchpoint. This illustration clearly shows the challenges that airports face. There are numerous passenger touchpoints and each one is an opportunity for passengers and staff to come in contact with each other and COVID-19. The good news is that leading-edge technology is available now, and other technology is under development, that will help passengers move safely and confidently through each touchpoint. It’s all about reducing contact between passengers and airport personnel and eliminating the physical act of touching surfaces where the virus could be viable. One technology stands apart as a great enabler – biometrics.





In other recent tests of people wearing face masks, the 120-point biometric facial scans routinely picked up passenger identity from just the passenger’s face showing above the mask. Currently, Collins Aerospace has leadingedge biometric technology working at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas and for JetBlue at JFK Airport in New York. Biometric trials are being conducted with easyJet between Bristol, England, and Dublin, Ireland.


With the advent of the COVID-19 global pandemic, airports are also looking for more effective ways to screen for potentially sick travellers. One way is to add health measurements, such as temperature scanning or thermal imaging, to an airport’s biometrics overlay. Not every airport touchpoint will require this more robust health measurement technology, but one could see the advantage of having it at Arrivals, before any significant interaction with other passengers, and, again, at security screening, before passengers mix on concourses and before they board their aircraft. Collins is currently testing thermal imaging and temperature scanning Beta technology in its labs.


One point to emphasise clearly and unambiguously is the need for thoughtful consideration of data privacy issues. While the greater good suggests that passengers suspected of being ill should be screened and checked, all passengers have rights and expectations of data privacy. Though, perhaps, not as inarguably as before COVID-19. How will governments regulate this technology? It’s safe to assume that what is allowed will vary country by country for the foreseeable future. Still, we note the recent announcement by Dubai-based Emirates that it has begun COVID-19 blood tests on passengers at the airport before their flights. Emirates APA Issue 2, 2020

says the results of the blood test are available in 10 minutes.


The global airport industry has done a great job delivering self-service technology. Today, with the latest mobile phone technology integrating with high-tech airports, passengers have a taste of what it’s like to proceed through each of the touchpoints in the IATA illustration with only minimal human interaction until they board their aircraft. Self-service is a growing passenger expectation. Especially now. At London, Las Vegas, Houston, San Francisco, and other global airports, passengers can automatically check in at remote kiosks, process their own baggage, and pass through self-boarding gates. Lines, and close contact, is a fraction of what it used to be. Collins is developing self-service technology as a mobile device app. Once passengers are on board an aircraft, they will have significantly less need to interact with flight attendants. They’ll be able to order food and drinks, control inflight entertainment systems and download movies from their own mobile devices. And there are applications for this technology to be leveraged in airports for wayfinding. Passengers will be warned of airport congestion points as the congestion is building and with enough advanced notice to adjust their schedules. Self-service indeed. Yes, there was a time not long ago when commercial airline passengers arrived early at airports to shop, eat and be merry before catching their flights. And they will again. Indeed, once travellers feel safe and confident, airports will be busy again. It’s an if-then relationship that leading-edge airport technology and a touchless travel experience can help deliver, today! APA About the author Tony Chapman is Collins Aerospace’s senior director for global product management and strategy.




Global effort Collaboration and co-operation will prove key to overcoming COVID-19, although aviation potentially faces a long road to recovery, writes Inderjit Singh.


viation is one of the most important pillars of the global economy as the sector provides millions of jobs across the world and contributes heavily to its GDP. It is also a survivor, as the industry’s previous recovery from events such as 9/11, the global financial crisis and SARS have proven over the last 20 years. However, the world and aviation has seen nothing like COVID-19 before, and surviving it will require new levels of industry and global co-operation.


In essence, we must step-up the current level of industry and global co-operation several gears to ensure that we’re all working together to create an ecosystem and an environment of confidence where passengers feel safe to take to the skies again. ICAO has been working with governments and industry partners ACI and IATA to ensure APA Issue 2, 2020

that harmonised and updated procedures are made available in order to keep passengers safe, the world connected, and the virus contained. Indeed, ICAO secretary general, Dr Fang Liu, and World Health Organization director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, recently reaffirmed their commitment to foster greater international co-operation to contain the virus and to protect the health of travellers. ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, has gone on record as welcoming the multi-sector and multi-agency communication, noting that the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on aviation has “highlighted the need for effective coordination and a proportionate response from States”. IATA director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, has stated: “Safety is always our top priority and that includes public health. Our layered approach of measures recommended by airports and airlines safeguard public



The path to restarting the industry is certainly not going to be an easy one, which is why I am pleased to report that across the globe, governments are beginning to co-ordinate their efforts and industry co-operation is growing, with the health and wellbeing of passengers and staff as the priority. And this kind of working together will be needed as demand for air travel isn’t expected to really pick up again until there’s a breakthrough vaccine or other lasting solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic. Only through demonstrative visible and effective measures can we regain the confidence of the stakeholders in the industry, as was done post 9/11, with the new invasive security measures. The new measures weren’t popular with passengers, and without doubt added to the hassle of flying, but they soon became accepted as a necessary requirement, more so when they became standardised across the globe. In the coming weeks and months, airlines will look to return to the skies with some reflection on the shrinking of fleets. In the short-term, one of the primary focuses will be on how to drive new operational cost efficiencies with smarter and more efficient aircraft and turnaround operations. Airport operations will need to become more flexible and adaptive to rapidly changing passenger volumes and requirements. It is expected that domestic


health while offering a practical approach for a gradual restart of operations. “That is key to restoring public confidence so the benefits of safely re-starting aviation can be realised.” Today’s COVID-19 impacted world means that the aviation industry is now charged with embracing a new responsibility for managing public health risks in close co-ordination with the WHO, and other health related research agencies, effectively developing a ‘new normal’ for the industry. Solutions can’t come quickly enough as ACI World analysis indicates that airports are set to lose around 40% of their traffic and 50% of their revenues in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The latest data suggests that worldwide domestic markets are down by 70% in 2020, and worryingly, an IATA consumer confidence survey revealed that only 14% of passengers said they would fly right away, while 60% said they would fly again within one to two months of the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 40% said that they could wait six months or more before they take to the skies again. These findings will reshape and reimagine the passenger journey, and the goal should be about building passenger trust and confidence by making travel safe, easy and contactless. This strategic technological transformation is critical for the future of the air transport industry.





travel will bounce back more quickly than international, although some countries have already opened up their borders again to a limited number of overseas destinations. The modalities related to kick-start air travel post COVID-19 are still evolving. It is too early to predict when airports worldwide would be able to return to handle their full capacity. A lot of it will depend on how aviation’s regulatory authorities assess and react to the extraordinary ‘new normal’, and what governments across the globe do to cope with the evolving scenario. Until then it is a ‘work in progress’ situation. Primarily based on advice from the WHO, the world’s airports and airlines are in the process of integrating and enforcing the primary norms of social distancing, sanitisation, and increased frequency of air-changes to control the spread of the pandemic in airport terminals and onboard aircraft. These may at best remain short-term measures and won’t be economically, socially and logistically sustainable in the long run. I expect that airports will initially be able to cope quite well in terms of maintaining the new social distancing requirements because of the lower passenger numbers – airlines are likely to operate reduced frequencies and smaller aircraft on routes – meaning that the capacity of airport terminals is unlikely to be stretched. However, sustaining physical distancing norms over a longer period of time with increased traffic will lead to congestion and delays in processing times. In the new paradigm that the industry is facing, technology will play an increasingly important role in supporting the recovery of airports following COVID-19 pandemic. Technology could be leveraged and positioned to minimise personal contact through a layered approach of biosecurity measures proposed by covering the passenger journey, from pre-flight to end of the air journey. APA Issue 2, 2020

This is especially so in the area of ‘touchless’ and ‘contactless’ solutions such as mobile and self-service biometrics, temperature scans, e-gates, and RFID readers for the verification of e-chip data embedded in passports. The key elements of the Public Health Corridor (PHC) concept are the use of ‘clean’ crew, aircraft and airport facilities transporting ‘clean’ passengers with minimal restrictions on aircraft operations, whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19 through air travel and protecting the health and safety of crew and passengers. Given the lack of a vaccine and definitive treatment for COVID-19, and persisting limitations on testing and resources, ICAO notes that while the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel cannot yet be completely eliminated, the risk to crew and passengers can be significantly mitigated by PHC measures.


COVID-19 is still an evolving phenomenon. Much has been done and much more action is in the pipeline to allow aviation – and the world in general – to combat and eventually overcome the pandemic. The most important thing to remember going forward is to treat and respond to the situation with care rather than scare. Cynics have often mentioned that aviation will never be the same. This may well be true, but it will eventually emerge from COVID-19 as a safer and healthier industry. At the end of this write-up we are perhaps left with as many questions as there are answers or more questions still to be answered. It is my conviction that it is better to debate a question without instantly settling it than to settle a question without debating it. About the author Inderjit Singh is an airport consultant for ICAO and former CEO of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in India.





Road to recovery Joe Bates provides a snapshot of how the region’s airports have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and are planning for a brighter future.


he region’s airports have turned to technology and new processes and procedures to ensure that they are equipped, ready and able to handle passengers when government’s finally lift travel restrictions and commercial flights can effectively begin again. Canberra (CBR), Doha (DOH), Dubai (DXB) and Hong Kong (HKG) have been among the most high profile in announcing their new measures, which have included everything from the introduction of touchless technology and quarantine rooms to robotic cleaners. Canberra Airport in Australia, for example, was the first Australian gateway to install new temperature scanning equipment ahead of the return of passenger traffic. The airport is currently handling around 90 domestic flights per week between Canberra and four destinations (Brisbane, Newcastle, Melbourne and Sydney), with Adelaide and a trans-Tasman service to Wellington in New Zealand set to join them in July. APA Issue 2, 2020

According to head of aviation, Michael Thomson, temperature screening and other new COVID-19 precautions show that Canberra Airport is a safe and secure place for passengers. “Passengers departing Canberra arrive at airport security as usual and as they pass through security a camera takes their image and records their temperature in real-time,” explains Thomson. “If a passenger has a body temperature over 37.8ºF they will be attended by a registered nurse immediately. The nurse will provide a face mask, offer to take their temperature again, and ask the passenger to participate in a questionnaire. “If a passenger continues to display signs of high temperature or fever, then the airline they intend to travel with will be informed. This way both the individual passenger and the airlines will be best informed to make sensible decisions about whether the passenger should be travelling at this time. “This is one measure in a suite of measures we are employing through and



Hong Kong International Airport was one of the first major gateways in the world to apply the latest disinfection technologies, including disinfection channels, antimicrobial coating and autonomous cleaning robots to protect passengers and staff from COVID-19 infection. The airport has effectively become the test bed for CLeanTech, a full-body disinfection channel facility, which is being trialled during live operations at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). According to Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), passengers using the facility “will have a temperature check before entering an enclosed channel for the 40-second disinfection and sanitising procedures”. It notes that the interior surface of the channel is equipped with antimicrobial coating which can remotely kill virus and bacteria on human bodies and clothing by using the technologies of photocatalyst and ‘nano needles’. ‘Sanitising spray’ is also applied for instant disinfection, says AAHK, adding that the

channel is kept under negative pressure to prevent cross-contamination between the outside and inside environment. AAHK is also conducting a pilot test of applying antimicrobial coating on all passenger facilities. An invisible coating to destroy germs, bacteria and viruses is applied to high-touch surfaces in the terminal, including handles and seats of Automated People Movers and passenger buses, smart check-in kiosks and elevator buttons. And that’s not all, as AAHK reveals that autonomous cleaning robots are also being deployed to ensure the thorough disinfection of public areas and passenger facilities. Called Intelligent Sterilization Robots, each one is equipped with an ultra violet light steriliser and air steriliser, and deployed round-the-clock in public toilets and key operating areas in the terminal building. According to AAHK, the robot can move around autonomously and sterilise up to 99.99% of bacteria in its vicinity, including both the air and object surfaces, in just 10 minutes. AAHK’s deputy director for service delivery, Steven Yiu, said: “The safety and wellbeing of airport staff and passengers are always our first priority."


beyond COVID-19 – including extra cleaning, hand-sanitiser being available for all, social distancing measures within the terminal and more.”






Another extremely proactive gateway in the battle against COVID-19 is Dubai International Airport (DXB), which has worked in tandem with home-carrier, Emirates, to ensure the maximum protection for passengers and staff against the killer disease. Its efforts include social distancing, conducting thermal screening and COVID-19 testing in support of health authorities and undertaking robust deep-cleaning and sanitisation to help alleviate customer concerns about air travel now that scheduled services have started to resume. While Emirates believes that it has set industry-leading safety standards for its passengers with the introduction of complimentary hygiene kits that include masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser. It states that the new hygiene kits, launched for the resumption of services to nine destinations from Dubai International Airport (DXB) in late May, show the care being taken at every step of the travel journey, “redefining safety and hygiene standards on board and on the ground”. Onboard aircraft, all cabin crew will be fully kitted out in PPE; cabin service assistants (CSAs) will ensure toilets are cleaned every 45 minute; comfort items such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, headphones and toys will be hygienically sealed; and magazines and print reading APA Issue 2, 2020

material will be banned to minimise the risk of cross infection. Dubai Airports CEO, Paul Griffiths, hopes that “the robust measures” in place at DXB will encourage passengers to slowly return to using the world’s busiest international airport, although he expects that it could be 18 months to two years before traffic figures return to anywhere near their pre-COVID-19 levels. Until then, he noted that the airport operator is taking appropriate measures to control costs and optimise liquidity.


Not far away in Qatar, Doha’s Hamad International Airport has begun using robotics and advanced thermal screening helmets as part of the measures being introduced for the Post-COVID-19 era. “The airport has adapted to the changes brought on by the spread of COVID-19 on the world, especially on the travel sector,” explains DOH’s chief operating officer, Badr Mohammed Al Meer. “Recovery plans have been put in place with priority given to the safety and comfort of travellers and employees. These plans include the use of the latest advanced technology to achieve the highest safety standards for the future travel experience.” The airport notes that its ‘smart screening helmet’ is a wearable intelligent helmet, which is portable, safe and



Without doubt COVID-19 will force some airports to amend or put on hold infrastructure development plans until a time when traffic levels pick up and make investing in costly new facilities economically viable. However, some airports have decided to announce new plans or push on with those already underway as they are confident that the current downturn in traffic will be only a temporary situation. One of these is Sihanouk International Airport in Cambodia, which in early June

unveiled an ambitious enhancement package to ensure that the country’s third busiest airport after Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is equipped to handle demand for the next 20 years. Construction of a second passenger terminal between now and 2030, extending the airport’s runway by 800 metres to 3,300 metres, a new taxiway and additional aircraft stands are the key projects of Phase 1 of the new development plan. Phase 2, up to the year 2040, will see the expansion of the terminal and the addition of a number of new ancillary and support facilities to the further the operational capabilities and performance of its airfield. One Phase 1 project scheduled for completion in the second half of 2020 is the extension and renovation of the runway, which airport operator Cambodia Airports notes is in its “last stretch”. When complete, they will be capable of handling widebody aircraft and long-haul flights for the first time. Alain Brun, CEO of Cambodia Airports, said: “The masterplan for the international airport in Sihanoukville is testament to Cambodia Airports/VINCI Airports continued commitment in enhancing air connectivity and, therefore, in contributing to unlocking business and tourism opportunities for the benefit of the people of Cambodia.” Global investor, VINCI Airports, has a controlling 70% stake in Cambodia Airports. APA


effective, and enables contactless temperature measurement. This helmet uses multiple advanced technologies such as infrared thermal imaging, artificial intelligence and AR (augmented reality) display. It can also enable implementation of mobile deployment-based control scenarios. Qatar’s gateway to the world has also invested in fully autonomous disinfectant robots, which emit a concentrated UV-C light that is proven to be effective in eliminating majority of infectious microorganisms. The robots are being deployed in vulnerable high passenger flow areas to reduce the spread of pathogens. Furthermore, DOH has invested in ultraviolet disinfection tunnels that it uses to disinfect all checked-in passenger luggage (departing, arriving and transferring).





Playing the long game Sustainable design must be high on the agenda of the world’s airports post COVID-19 to enable the industry to build back better, writes Roger Swinbourne, Arup's sustainability leader for the Australasia region.


ustainability is a concept that aims to optimise outcomes for human and natural environments, both now and with a view to the long-term future. The ultimate goal of sustainable policies and practices is to provide a framework to guide human activity so that societies and economies can reach their greatest potential in the present without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same. Sustainability affects every level of humanity, from local neighbourhoods to the global community as a whole. It is also important to recognise that sustainability is a systems problem and, to an extent, a subjective term. Actions and outcomes can be considered more or less sustainable than others. Put simply, it is not a yes-or-no answer or a simple technical solution. The decision-making process is therefore vital to the long-term implementation of sustainable strategies, policies and practices. All decisions must consider the level at which they operate, the timeframe involved and the long-term impacts of each decision. Essentially, progress is subject to not only current decision making but all future APA Issue 2, 2020

decisions being directed towards a better long-term future. The emerging trends outlined below will impact how airports are designed and operate in the future. Consideration of these factors in the planning and design of airports will be significantly more cost-efficient than a deep retrofit at a later date. Furthermore, designing an airport that is appropriately future-proofed and considered best-in-class will both mitigate climate related risks and enable a favourable assessment from a prospective buyer or regulator in the future. The following points set out some of the opportunities to change business as usual that may enable the industry to bounce back better following the current challenges.


Supply and demand of energy, water and materials are shifting with the impact of dynamic technology, market and political change. This changing risk and cost dynamic create opportunities to proactively realise the benefits, and reduce risk, for acting early to reduce demand and secure supply or alternative approaches (PV/renewables).




This will impact both the asset considerations as well as the aviation sector over the coming years, for example: • With the global expansion of Airport Carbon Accreditation, the transition to net zero-carbon is becoming a priority for more and more airports. We are already seeing tangible results from this, with many airports already achieving carbon neutrality (airport operations) in spite of increased passenger numbers and air traffic movements. • Integrated resource management (IRM) is becoming more commonly employed in airport design. IRM is a planning process that assembles all resource groups that typically work separately so that all available resources can be factored to enable the delivery of long-term sustainable outcomes. • Mobility in airports is changing. Large numbers of airports are in the process of replacing diesel-powered shuttle trains and buses with electric ones, also there is machine learning being introduced to the operations to drive down waste and create more optimal operations. • Biometric technology is becoming increasingly popular. Integrated in personal devices, check-in areas, security control and at the boarding gates, biometrics is streamlining the flow of people through airports while reducing environmental footprints.


Funds applying an ESG (environmental, social and governance) lens to investments have significantly increased over the last four years. Almost half of all professionally managed money in Australia is now classed as responsible investment (one trillion dollars) which means they factor in the ESG risk and opportunity as material value in investment decisions. They are also realising higher returns on ESG-led investing, meaning that it is likely to become more embedded. Effective consideration of more sustainable outcomes for new airport infrastructure will open up new financing opportunities for the capital investments required and will become material factors in future asset valuations.


Sustainability takes a medium and long-term view to social, environmental and economic futures in seeking to understand opportunity and risk. It is increasingly being considered in line with future asset value (and significantly reduced impact on the environment) rather than the more traditional capital expenditure/operational expenditure (Capex/Opex) approach.




The assumption that sustainability costs more has changed. Early action seeks to drive design efficiency and productivity with a focus on outcome and impact rather than input and output. By moving to circular economy practices, there is a focus on maintaining highest and best use of materials for as long as possible.


The aviation industry is increasingly challenged and scrutinised around its responsibility and action towards the future. That responsibility drives the sector towards greater future responsibility and integrity in delivering environmental and social value, including within and beyond the function of the industry. The sector is also moving towards healing damage for which it has previously been responsible, such as soil and ground water contamination (PFAS), carbon emissions, and harm to local ecosystems. As a result, there is an increased commitment to circular principles. For example, airports are being increasingly incorporated into communityfocused sustainable development. Sustainable community initiatives are typically driven by governments and non-profit organisations but also involve community members. Their core aim is to ensure that adequate resources are available for future generations while minimising waste and preventing pollution. APA Issue 2, 2020


The air transport industry has a direct or indirect impact on at least 15 of the United Nations' 17 SDGs. Above the rating systems currently proposed in new airport infrastructure sustainability plans, the SDGs offer a more holistic framework with which to plan longer-term outcomes. An effective whole of life view of an airport’s sustainability and resilience starts during the design process. It can demonstrate that an approach meets future responsibilities, captures possible opportunities and meets the financial efficiency requirements of the airport at capital and operational stages. It should also be appreciated that the construction stage of airport planning will always be subject to future regulatory and design standards along with market perception. This means that current design practices need to carefully consider the short, medium and long-term regulatory, economic and financial environment of the project and proactively realise value in the current design. There is much to be said for airports taking a strategic approach to delivering more sustainable and resilient assets that will consider a whole of life value approach and identify appropriate implementation actions at the right stage of the development to either include, or not preclude, desired outcomes. This is critical to enabling the industry to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of society, both now and in the future.





Talking shop Sunil Tuli, president of the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) and group chief executive of King Power Group (Hong Kong) shares an industry perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic.


s air travel virtually ground to a halt across Asia-Pacific in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, so too did an essential lifeline of over $36 billion in nonaeronautical income, a critical contributor to the aviation industry in the region. This normally vibrant industry in APAC is effectively paralysed while flights are grounded, and borders closed. No passengers equals no shoppers, and no vital retail contribution to airport balance sheets. Duty free and travel retail is estimated to support over 320,000 jobs in AsiaPacific alone. The travel retail and duty-free sector is intrinsically linked with the aviation ecosystem. We cannot function without airports and airlines and they, in return, cannot deliver a viable business without the essential contribution of non-aeronautical revenue delivered by airport and inflight retail. Airport retail and commercial services, including food and beverage, constitute a crucial business sector, providing up to 60% APA Issue 2, 2020

of vital commercial income for airport owners, outpacing aeronautical revenue streams. As such, our industry is also the most significant direct contributor to the investment in Asia-Pacific's aviation infrastructure and the on-going development of world-class national gateways, the region's hubs to the world. As a member of the Duty Free World Council, we continue to engage on the impact of the pandemic as a global industry group of associations. At APTRA – the not for profit trade association representing brands, retailers, airports, F&B operators and trade associations in travel retail and duty-free in Asia-Pacific – we have intensified our advocacy focus, campaigning alongside the Duty Free World Council, to governments and industry bodies, such as ICAO, to recognise the unique dynamics of the travel retail industry, that are wholly different to domestic retail, and to include it in rescue and stimulus packages for the aviation sector.


bigger hubs and governments are starting to work proactively with industry associations, such as APTRA, on stimulus strategies. The cautious pace reflects a continuing and unprecedented threat, but progress reflects a region ready to take-off again. The vital signs for retail are good. Consumer appetite for airport shopping in Asia-Pacific is the strongest in the world. Pre-pandemic, ACI figures (2018) show average spend rates in APAC duty free concessions 76% higher than the global average. Amongst Chinese travellers it is even more extraordinary; Horizon reports their rate of spend is five times higher than any other nationality, representing 42% global travel retail. The region is home to the long-term trend of 90% global growth in middle classes, driving the desire to travel abroad for the first time. As part of their travels, these consumers are eagerly looking for great retail experiences and to discover new brands. Duty free and travel retail is an important shop window for brands wanting to reach and engage with new consumers. All positive imperatives for strong and sustained growth. Right now, although it may be hard to imagine just how the next 15 years will pan out, APTRA is confident that once the current challenge has passed there are many substantial reasons underpinning our belief that we are following a solid roadmap to recovery, despite the bumps in the road. When airports are fully functioning again they will need the commercial operators of retailers, brands, food and beverage to be ready and open for trading, so we are doing everything we can to leverage every opportunity to enable the recovery of our sector. The last 15 years have brought incredible growth of business and innovations that have changed our lives in many ways. This year has stunned everyone, but we are determined to help drive the industry back onto its rightful path to growth. APA


Travel retail also plays an important role in terminal operational efficiencies. Built as an integrated part of airport terminal infrastructure capacity – these stores are not standalone retail operations. Larger duty free outlets operate very differently to high street retailers. Most importantly, in this context, walkthrough duty and tax-free stores do not usually have designated entry and exit points. Their surface area is an integral part of the general passenger flow through an airport. We are pleased that in its CART (Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce) Report, launched in early June 2020, ICAO did, formally, recognise the important role of non-aeronautical income, giving its support for retail and F&B to open up at airports as soon as flights resume. This important and very welcome report is founded on 10 key principles, including ‘work as one aviation team and show solidarity’, and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in travel retail in thanking ICAO for its inclusive and broad thinking approach to recovery strategies. APTRA is now supporting our members with guidance on the implementation of in-store changes to meet ICAO’s recommendations, prioritising the health and safety of passengers and staff, alongside achieving a much-needed bounce-back in revenue. Several airports, of all sizes from across the region, are active members of APTRA and we always welcome more participation from the sector. We are starting to see the first green shoots of recovery. Key international routes are slowly opening up, albeit with severe restrictions on passenger eligibility, border closures and quarantine requirements. Discussions on bilateral travel corridors continue among those countries that have shown strong control of COVID-19 and, if successful, could encourage multilateral agreements. Domestic travel is strengthening in China, transit passengers are back at the





China's aerotropolis ambitions

Mainland China has fully embraced the aerotropolis concept with over 100 hugely ambitious projects now underway across the country, writes Dr John Kasarda.


sia leads the way in airport city and aerotropolis development and China is the region’s most enthusiastic adopter of the aerotropolis model, with more than 100 of its airports and their surrounding areas incorporating its principles. Among the most prominent are Beijing Capital (PEK), Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA), Guangzhou Baiyun (CAN) and Zhengzhou Xinzheng (CGO). Beijing Capital International Airport — Asia’s busiest, serving approximately 100 million passengers in 2019 — is corner-stoned by its airport city logistics park (ACLP). The $900 million ACLP consists of air cargo and air express centres, import/ export warehouses, an integrated support service area with related office complexes, and bonded product exhibition. APA Issue 2, 2020

From 2018 to 2020, new enterprises in biomedicine, smart electronics, and cross-border e-commerce located in the airport city logistics park. The ACLP is now part of the 178-squarekilometre Beijing Airport Core Economy Zone (BACEZ) spreading into Beijing’s Shunyi District. The BACEZ contains more than 3,000 enterprises, including operations of over fifty Fortune 500 firms. The Shunyi portion of the zone is continuing its transition from moretraditional industries (automobile production, for example) to high-tech assembly and knowledge-based business services more oriented to air transport. Meanwhile in Shanghai, the seamless fusion of the airport with subway, regional and high-speed rail drives an impressive airport city adjacent to Shanghai Hongqiao.


Free Trade Business Park ($602 million) and the $1.3 billion Greenland Group/ Guangdong Province Airport Authority joint venture on 33 hectares. Both developments are just three kilometres from CAN, with the former focusing on trade, and the latter mostly on aviationindustry headquarters, financial institutions, government administrative offices and hotels. Centred around Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO), the 415-squarekilometer Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone (ZAEZ) has grown so remarkably since its formal inception in March 2013, that in April 2019 the People’s Daily crowned it ‘China’s Aerotropolis’. Over 200 million smartphones were assembled in the ZAEZ last year, generating $44.2 billion in electronic information industry output. Smartphone assembly parks are complemented by rapidly developing biomedicine parks, silicon wafer manufacturing facilities, hotels and office buildings as well as construction of one of China’s largest trade and exhibition complexes. In 2019 alone, 22 major projects settled in the ZAEZ accounting for a combined investment of $11.9 billion. With its 29 international air cargo routes, CGO has been China’s fastest growing in air cargo volumes during four of the last five years. Future China aerotropolises in planning include those around the spectacular Beijing Daxing International Airport that opened in September 2019, and in Ezhou in central China’s Hubei Province, where the provincial government is teaming with SF Express (China’s primary air logistics provider) to develop a $6 billion air cargo airport that they ambitiously envision will be the largest in Asia with a scalable capacity of 7.6 million APA tonnes of cargo annually. About the author Dr John Kasarda is president of the Aerotropolis Institute China and a professor at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.


Some of Shanghai’s more distinctive office buildings make up this airport edge city. By 2020, over 300 high-end structures had been built, comprising approximately 5.6 million square metres of floor space at a total investment of exceeding $100 billion. This includes the massive two-millionsquare-metre national exhibition arena (the largest in the world) along with office buildings housing international and domestic corporate headquarters, knowledge workers in advanced business and professional services, financial and trading enterprises, economic organisations, and upscale retail. Between 2018 and 2020, prestigious international schools, a Medical Zone containing hospitals providing nearly 2,000 beds, and four five-star hotels were added. About 650,000 people currently work in Hongqiao Airport City, also known as the Hongqiao CBD (Central Business District). The sprawling Pearl River port city of Guangzhou has a major advantage in terms of its aerotropolis development as Baiyun International Airport serves as the hub for China Southern Airlines (China’s largest in fleet size, revenue, and passengers carried) as well as the Asia-Pacific hub for FedEx. Yet a Guangzhou Aerotropolis had been slow to materialise, due in part to the inability to align local jurisdictions and other key stakeholders for co-ordinated actions. The establishment of the 116-squarekilometre cross-jurisdictional Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District (GADD) in September 2015 reconciled this problem. Catalysed by an expanded bonded zone and the airport’s magnificent new passenger terminal, Guangzhou Aerotropolis investment accelerated between 2017 and 2020 in logistics and cross-border e-commerce, trade and exhibition, and hospitality as well as office building complexes. Among the biggest are the 67-hectare China–Australia–New Zealand–South Korea


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Industry news News, views and reviews from ACI’s Asia-Pacific and global World Business Partners.

REVAMPING THE RETAIL OFFERINGS IN BEIJING CAPITAL’S TERMINAL 3 Beijing Capital International Airport has appointed a UK based airport design consultancy to help it redevelop and expand the commercial planning and design of the international departure lounge in Terminal 3. The airport wants the revamp to create a radically new retail experience for the 10 million passengers that pass through it each year, in turn raising its commercial revenues and user satisfaction levels. According to The Design Solution, the project will integrate a unique interior design with innovative technology building on the current two ‘historic’ gardens and fountain while creating a distinct Sense of Place through sharing the culture and spirit of China, old and new. Beijing Capital’s assistant manager of market development, Lui Li, said: “It is crucial that we continue to innovate and provide our passengers with a premium quality airport experience, as demonstrated by our recent repeated success in the ACI ASQ awards. “This extensive re-configuration and re-design expresses our commitment to the passenger and our retail partners, China Duty Free Group.” Robbie Gill, managing director of The Design Solution, noted: “The commercial areas were originally planned nearly 20 years ago and, in that time, the world of airport retailing has moved forward dramatically. We will be creating a new powerful vision and transform the space to maintain BCIA’s pioneering position among the world’s leading airport experiences.”

APA Issue 2, 2020




LAGARDÈRE TRAVEL RETAIL RE-OPENS OUTLETS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific has begun to re-open some of its stores across the region, starting with a handful of outlets in the domestic terminals at Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Perth and Melbourne. According to the travel retailer, the small selection of stores will be used as test cases with restricted trading hours, with learnings gathered to be applied to further recovery efforts once passenger numbers increase to more sustainable levels. To ensure the safety of all customers and staff, the stores have strict hygiene and safety measures in place, including the use of protective equipment, personal hygiene protocols, thorough and regular disinfection of all facilities and social-distancing measures. Przemek Lesniak, CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific, said: “To reopen even a handful of our stores in Australia and New Zealand is a big moment. It will take time, but we are continuing to think positively about the future and hope to see passenger numbers continue to increase to allow more stores to reopen soon.”

RUNWAY UPGRADE FOR HYDERABAD’S GATEWAY TO THE WORLD Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has engaged ADB SAFEGATE to upgrade its primary runway from CAT-I to CAT-II and the secondary runway from simple approach to CAT-I. A major part of the project entails modification of the airport's airfield ground lighting (AGL) system that predominantly comprises halogen lights to Reliance Red intelligent lights. As part of the runway enhancement package, ADB SAFEGATE will upgrade the airport's runways and associated Airfield Lighting Control

and Monitoring System (ALCMS) and Individual Lamp Control and Monitoring System (ILCMS). The project also includes scope for comprehensive maintenance of the AGL system for the next 10 years. GMR's executive director – south and chief innovation officer, SGK Kishore, says: “When it came to upgrading our AGL systems, we chose ADB SAFEGATE based on the strength of their offerings and the long partnership we have had with them since the inception of our airport over a decade ago.”



LEAD8 Location: Singapore Type of Business: Planning & Construction W: Lead8 is a multi-disciplinary architecture and design studio with a reputation for fusing creative thinking with award-winning experience. Its talented team of ‘leaders’ are said to be curious, engaged and passionate about every aspect of design, from large-scale city master planning, airport planning and design, architecture, interior design, repositioning and renovations, environmental graphics, wayfinding, signage design and branding.

PIONEERING NEW TOUCHLESS TECHNOLOGY Courtesy of Elenium Automation, Avalon Airport became the first gateway in Australia to introduce touchless, self-service check-in technology in May. The airport – located between the cities of Melbourne and Geelong – believes that the pioneering initiative will ensure world-class safety and a top experience for passengers. Instead of touching screens, passengers at Avalon Airport will control their interaction with the kiosks and bag drops via head movement. Cameras in kiosks and bag drops will link the movement of the passenger’s head with the movement of a cursor on the screen. In addition, passports can be read by holding them open in front of a camera, rather than by inserting them into a passport slot. Elenium Automation CEO and co-founder, Aaron Hornlimann, says: “While this is very difficult time for the aviation industry, we have an opportunity to make the changes for passenger safety and wellbeing that will increase their confidence. “We are very excited that Avalon is working with us to ensure the airport is in a great position to rebound from this crisis by giving their passengers and team a streamlined, safe airport experience. “We believe the introduction of touchless self-service will encourage people to return to travel.” APA Issue 2, 2020




HARRIS ORTHOGON Location: Germany Type of Business: IT & Communications W: Harris Orthogon GmbH is a leading provider of Air Traffic Synchronisation solutions, Demand Capacity Balancing tools and decision support systems for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and airports. The company has been pioneering new ways of increasing and optimising capacity in the air traffic domain. An ISO 9001:2015 certified company, Harris Orthogon is a subsidiary of L3Harris Technologies. TO70 AVIATION AUSTRALIA Location: Australia Type of Business: Consulting & Management W: To70 delivers high-quality consulting and research services to the global aviation community. Since its inception in 2000, To70 has built a reputation on integrity, drive, knowledge and innovation. It specialises in airport strategic planning; aviation policy; aviation and the environment; air traffic management; aviation safety; aviation communication; and route development.


Profile for Asia-Pacific Airports Magazine

Asia-Pacific Airports - Issue 2, 2020  


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