Europe needs to develop new transport networks and infrastructures in order to support its industry and promote economic growth. Air transport has increased faster than any other mode of transport in the past 20 years, but concerns linked to traffic saturation and the environment are growing. Airports are an essential element in the air transport system and yet their development can give rise to tension and even conflict between the different economic and political players. Reflection is needed on how to guarantee sufficient airport capacity in the enlarged European Union whilst respecting the different constraints of safety, security, environment, customer satisfaction and inter modality among other things.
The Air and Space Academy (AAE, Académie de l'Air et de l'Espace) organised a two-day international conference on Airports and their Challenges, in DGAC Paris (7-8 October 2009).
This conference aimed to achieve a broad, dynamic vision of the evolution of airports in Europe and worldwide, of the different challenges and of constraints facing them within a 15-20 year time frame. The conference defined the orientations necessary for the future.
The conference brought together top policy makers and operators (from the European and international air transport system) to pool information, discuss current developments and share new innovative ideas. Guidelines defined at this conference have been disseminated widely to policy makers worldwide in order to maximise impact.
The Air and Space Academy (AAE) has a wide experience of organising successful conferences. A Programme Committee, chaired by Marc Noyelle (former Executive Director Development and facilities for Aéroports de Paris, and Administrator-President of ADPI international engineering branch), comprised of experts from AAE, DGAC, Air France-KLM, Aéroports de Paris, UAF, ACI Europe and DG TREN with input from relevant international organisations and European airport managers.
The conference work programme was carried out by AAE.
Results and recommendations:
- Airports must increase capacities (mainly within existing airports in Europe) to meet demand without creating bottlenecks.
- European transport networks must be studied to find the best compromise between strengthening hubs, maximising existing airport capacities or using other means of transport.
- Ground access and intermodality must be enhanced with the aim of improving city-airport road, taxi and public transport access (priority lanes) and creating direct link-ups with high-speed rail networks.
- New terminals should be large and flexible enough to meet tighter security and regulatory demands. They should noticeably improve quality of service at all times.
- Security regulations must be harmonised on a European and international level, especially for passengers in transit. New technologies should increase reliability of security checks whilst minimising passenger inconvenience.
- A major R&D effort must help streamline luggage handling systems and implement a reliable, cost-effective international system of luggage identification.
- The best possible compromise must be achieved to meet air transport demand in a sustainable way:
- By promoting quieter approach procedures and restricting night movements whilst maintaining capacity.
- By allowing for reasonable extension of the airport.
- By encouraging a relationship of mutual, enduring trust between residents and other airport stakeholders.
- By reducing CO2 and NOx (enforcing strict requirements on buildings and vehicles, reducing time between authorisation for taxiing and take-off, gauging take-off times more accurately to optimise use of en-route air space and destination airport capacities).
- An efficient and integrated mobility system: Service quality and reliability
- Innovating for the future (technology and behaviour): Promoting more sustainable development