Less than two weeks ago I was in Austin, Texas at our annual conference with more than 1,700 airport professionals from all over the North America. The men and women who run and staff our airports posses a rare combination of political, economic, technical and business skills. They run the institutions that connect their communities to the world and they directly serve, in the U.S .and Canada, well over 700 million passengers per year. And, as I have written many times before, airports are on the front lines serving our passengers at a time when airlines have abdicated many of the responsibilities they once shouldered.
On Tuesday, I will leave for Toronto to attend the board meeting of the Canadian Airports Council. One of the real joys of this job is the ability to work with our Canadian members. The ownership model is different there, and airport leaders have a few more options than do their U.S. counterparts. Some of my favorite folks in this business run Canadian airports. There is an energy there that you can feel when you visit, as I do several times a year.
When that meeting is over I will leave for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the ACI World annual meeting. (Flying on an A-380 operated by Emirates Airlines — that should be quite something). That conference will include airport leaders from every corner of the world, including several from developing world airports whose participation is made possible by contributions from airports in the developed world. I will be on a panel about environmental issues.
So, within just three weeks I will be spending time around airport leaders from literally every corner of the world. I expect to come back energized, inspired and renewed in my confidence that the airport is where the action is in today’s aviation industry.