Earlier this week I traveled to Montreal to beat the heat, to escape the increasingly frustrating atmosphere in Washington and to visit the new ACI World offices. The ACI World organization moved to Montreal this past year; an important move as ACI World is the official airport representative at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and ICAO is based in Montreal.
Why is this important, you might ask? Well, ICAO sets aviation standards on a wide variety of important issues such as safety, security and environment. Increasingly, ICAO is delving into economic issues as well, so it is critical that airports be represented there and ACI World’s activities play an increasingly critical role in protecting and advancing airport interests. Angela Gittens, a true airport professional, leads ACI’s world efforts and has built an impressive team.
One of her initiatives has been to get the five of us who run the ACI regional offices together twice a year. In this way, our efforts are well coordinated and have benefitted airports and travelers everywhere. For example, ACI Europe and North America worked together with World on the matter of the European Commission’s poorly considered effort to lift restrictions on the carriage of liquids and gels. The Commission’s plan would have been unworkable and impacted travelers everywhere, and the work we did together helped stop this from happening.
While I was up in Montreal I also met with the U.S. Ambassador to ICAO Duane Woerth. I first met Duane when he was President of the Air Line Pilots Association and he has been an important part of the aviation community for a number of years. He does an excellent job representing the U.S. in Montreal. The big issues now are a push to impose an unworkable, impractical and counter-productive mandate for airport employee screening; as well as what to do about the European Commission’s effort to impose an emissions trading scheme that would impact airlines and travelers everywhere in a punitive way. These are issues that would affect all travelers and interests in aviation in a negative way and it is important that the country and airports are as well represented there as airports are represented by Angela Gittens and her team at ACI World.