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So has Air­ports Coun­cil In­ter­na­tional done re­search to find out what pas­sen­gers are con­cerned about?

ACI does an air­port ser­vice qual­ity survey. And then we all get to see what makes up the pas­sen­ger’s per­cep­tion; what’s im­por­tant to the pas­sen­ger. Clean­li­ness is the most im­por­tant thing; it has like a 96 per­cent cor­re­la­tion with the over­all score. And my the­ory on this is, it all has to do with the sense of feel­ing safe. Some­one’s in charge, some­one’s tak­ing care of things, and I feel safe. And if they’re tak­ing care of this, they’re tak­ing care of ev­ery­thing.

What is ACI’s pri­mary role in the in­dus­try?

It’s like a fed­er­ated or­ga­ni­za­tion.You have ACI World that deals with is­sues and or­ga­ni­za­tions at the world­wide level, ICAO in par­tic­u­lar. And then there are five re­gions and they deal with the is­sues and or­ga­ni­za­tions at that re­gional level.

ACI is play­ing a big role in de­vel­op­ing the pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence of the fu­ture. Is the air­port of to­mor­row some­thing we can look for­ward to see­ing any­time soon?

A lot of it has started, par­tic­u­larly in the US. It’s been in the last year that it’s just cat­a­pulted sud­denly. Maybe it is due to Pres­i­dent Obama set­ting this goal of 100 mil­lion vis­i­tors by a cer­tain date. So you start think­ing, OK, what is it go­ing to take to re­duce those ob­sta­cles? And, voilá – what peo­ple can do when they’re given a tar­get!

But is last cen­tury’s avi­a­tion sys­tem re­ally ready to han­dle that growth?You have so many more chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to­day.

And you have more play­ers. Be­cause now you have the pas­sen­ger who’s a player, who didn’t used to be. I mean they just would show up at cer­tain points. Now the pas­sen­ger is at the very be­gin­ning mak­ing all kinds of choices, and will be able to make more choices go­ing for­ward. Tech­nol­ogy is en­abling this, and very quickly. The slow part is we hu­mans.

It seems com­mer­cial avi­a­tion is on the crest of a wave, lead­ing the way in cre­at­ing a truly global com­mu­nity.

I tell you, if avi­a­tion ran the world, there would be peace. We’re here to con­nect those dots. BT

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