A few final thoughts from Kuala Lumpur as I wait for my flight:
Max is a worthy successor to Jim, both men of energy, vision, and (Jim’s favorite word) passion. Max has been vice chair these past two years and I look forward to working with him and with Angela Gittens to strengthen ACI World even further. Succeeding Max as Vice Chair is Yiannis Piraschis of Athens, Greece. Yiannis has been chair of ACI Europe the past two years and is another person who has done much to strengthen the global airport industry.
The final day featured a panel on the uses of technology to improve customer service. Randy Walker, our former chair, is a pioneer in this area and gave a presentation. Other presenters included Catherine Mayer of SITA (someone with more energy than any two other people), Ad Rutten of Amsterdam and also the CEO of Abu Dhabi Airport, John Stent.
Technology will one day mean a truly seamless trip through the airport (think about the benefit home check-in has already provided). I suppose security will be the final hurdle for technology to conquer for the truly seamless experience.
I was on the final panel talking about airport sustainability and environmental initiatives. I reviewed ACI-NA’s environmental goals, climate change position and the results of the Sustainable Airport Guidance Alliance. I was literally the final speaker of the conference so tried to make my remarks as concise as possible. My main point: aviation is the most environmentally responsible means for transporting people and goods ever devised, airports have a good story to tell but even so are always looking to improve even without government dictates, and this is one area in which we have a choice of either shaping the future or being shaped by it.
Overall it has been a remarkable experience here. Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad and his team at Kuala Lumpur Airport did a fabulous job, as did Angela and her team. It is always so inspiring to be among the leaders of the world’s airport industry.