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Air Transport Research Society World Conference concludes in Rhodes

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RHODES, Greece – The Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) successfully concluded its 20th Anniversary World Conference in Rhodes, Greece.

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RHODES, Greece – The Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) successfully concluded its 20th Anniversary World Conference in Rhodes, Greece. This conference marked a return to Greece, following a very well-attended World Conference in Athens in 2008. Approximately 250 delegates from around the world attended the conference, with the greatest numbers coming from the USA, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Highlights of the conference included the annual presentation of the ATRS Benchmarking Awards to the most efficient airports in the world.

Angela Gittens, the Director General of ACI World, presented the keynote address to the conference. In her speech, she highlighted the decreased charges assessed by airports over the years. In addition, she made the case for letting airports operate with a “mature” regulatory regime in order to best allow them to achieve efficient results.

Plenary panel sessions highlighted best practices in airport management, issues in infrastructure and regulation, as well as ways the various constituents of the aviation community can work better together. A special session debated issues related to the departure of the UK from the European Union.

About 170 papers and panel sessions explored topics of interest on a variety of subjects related to air transport, including policy, strategic, regulatory and operational issues. According to Martin Dresner, ATRS President and CEO, “The ATRS World Conference in Rhodes has served as a forum to debate the latest in aviation research. Moreover, findings from from our previous nineteen conferences have been used to guide managers in the aviation field over the past two decades. We are confident that our discussions from Rhodes will again be relevant to managers in the aviation field.”

Dr Kostas Iatrou, Chairperson of 2016 ATRS World Conference said: “For the second time in the 20 year history of ATRS, the World Conference is being held in Greece. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Air Transport News and the 20th anniversary of ATRS. Key people from the industry participated in the conference.”
At the conference, the ATRS named two outstanding individuals as ATRS Fellows:
-Dr. Anne Graham, Reader, from the University of Westminster and
-Mr. Mario Diaz, Director of Aviation, Houston Airport System.

The two fellows were recognized for their contributions to the ATRS as well as for their impact on the research and professional aviation communities.

The Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) has just released the key results of its 2016 Global Airport Performance Benchmarking Task Force report.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is once again named as the most efficient airport in the World in 2016, marking the 13th-year for ATL as the recipient of Efficiency Excellence Award by Air Transport Research Society (ATRS), a worldwide research network.

“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport made history last year as the first airport ever to serve 100 million passengers in a single year. Maintaining efficiency and operational excellence while hosting so many passengers speaks volumes about our employees and partners. We are honored to receive this award for the 13th consecutive year.” -Roosevelt Council, Jr., Interim Aviation General Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Other top performers in the United States include Charlotte, Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Omaha airports. In Canada, Victoria and Vancouver International Airports are ranked as the top efficient airports.

In Asia, Hong Kong is back at the top as the most efficient airport, with Jeju International Airport as a very close second. Jeju is operated by Korea Airports Corporation that also operates the 3rd ranking Gimhae International Airport in Busan.

C K Ng, Executive Director, Airport Operations of Airport Authority Hong Kong, said when receiving the award, “We are delighted for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to receive this prestigious award, which is the result of the collective effort and dedication of a 73,000-strong airport staff working closely together to achieve a high level of service standard, with an aim to attain passenger satisfaction and efficient operations. Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our business partners for maintaining HKIA’s status as a leading international and regional aviation hub.”

Sydney Airport continues to be the most efficient airport in Oceania, its sixth win in a row. Australia Pacific Airports Corporation and Auckland also achieved great performance in terms of efficiency.

For the fifth consecutive year, Copenhagen wins the top efficiency award among the large European airports followed by Schiphol and AENA. It is worth noting that AENA’s performance has greatly improved over last few years, at least in part due to its privatization efforts. Athens International Airports is again ranked at the top among the small to medium/sized European airports, and in fact, among all the European airports in our study.

“At Copenhagen Airport, we take great pride in winning the 2016 ATRS award for Most efficient European Airport. Our consistent efficiency gains are driven by our World Class Hub Strategy, focusing on lowering the total cost of operation for our airline customers and improving the efficiency and service quality for our travelers”, said Henrik Peter Joergensen, Vice president for External Relations at Copenhagen Airport.

“We are indeed deeply honored that Athens International Airport has been distinguished by the esteemed Air Transport Research Society as the most efficient airport in its category in the performance benchmarking for 2015. The specific year, marked by slow worldwide growth and a highly critical economic and political situation in Greece, has indeed been extremely challenging.

Thanks to its solid basis, AIA has managed, despite adversities, to address significant market challenges, protect its business model and continue to deliver substantial value to all stakeholders and the Greek economy. Targeted efforts towards traffic recovery and revenue streams, in combination with operating cost optimization, have been key to that end and allowed AIA to post healthy results in 2015, without compromising its value-for-money services.

“It is true that we are operating within a highly critical environment having to face major challenges; we are, however, firmly committed to maximizing all our efforts to continue weathering the storm and come out even stronger” said Dr Yiannis Paraschis, CEO of Athens International Airport

The ATRS Global Airport Benchmarking Project measures and compares the performance of several important aspects of airport operations: Productivity and efficiency, unit costs and cost competitiveness, financial results and airport charges. The report also examines the relationships between various performance measures and airport characteristics as well as management strategies in order to provide a better understanding of observed differences in airport performance. The 2016 report includes 205 airports and 24 airport groups of various sizes and ownership forms in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America.

“The Air Transport Research Society World Conference brings a variety of aviation professionals from around the world to present the latest research available to move our industry forward,” said Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz and Moderator of the 2016 ATRS Global Airport Benchmarking Task Force Report Award Ceremony. “Shared best practices benefit everyone, including airports, carriers and most importantly passengers. I look forward to the benchmarking report findings to allow our airports to remain competitive, because providing the most efficient and productive customer experience possible is the common goal we all share.”

The results by region:

-Asia: Hong Kong International Airport
-Oceania: Sydney Airport
-Europe large airports: Copenhagen Airports
-Europe small and Medium: Athens International Airport
-North American Large: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
-North America small: Omaha Airport

It is not surprising to see that Atlanta, Athens, Copenhagen, and Sydney continue to achieve outstanding performance, and to see Hong Kong is back on top in Asia. It is worth noting, however, that AENA’s privatization process appears to have motivated major Spanish airports to improve their performance, significantly. Chunyan Yu, VP Benchmarking, ATRS

“The ATRS goes to great efforts to assess the efficiency of airports around the world. Our hope is that the airport authorities will review these results in order to further improve their efficiency and reduce the costs to passenger and airline users,” says Martin Dresner, ATRS CEO & President.

The 2017 World Conference will be organised in Antwerp, Belgium 5-8 July.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.