Airports council chief answers tough questions on growth, privatization, metrojet crash

Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International-World, painted a mixed picture for airport passenger and cargo traffic growth in 2015, highlighted by continued steep growth in the Middle East region.

Speaking at DePaul University’s fifth annual IALI/Chaddick Lunch Lecture, co-sponsored by the International Aviation Law Institute​ and the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development​, Ms. Gittens said the Middle East was reshaping the world’s aviation map, with 8.8 percent passenger growth and 8.6 percent cargo growth in the first half of this year, coming on the heels of 10.8 percent and 9.2 percent growth figures for 2014, respectively.

She cautioned that 69 percent of airports operate at a net loss, and that major investments – in the range of $135 billion dollars – will be required to meet the sustained demand for air service to 2016.
L-R: Steve Rudolph, IALI Executive Director; Angela Gittens, ACI-World Director General; Jennifer Rosato Perea, Dean, DePaul University College of Law; Prof. Joe Schwieterman, Director, Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.

Ms. Gittens also noted that airport privatization is a more widespread phenomenon than most would believe, if one includes public-private partnerships and the many privatized operations within public-owned airports, as well as those under private ownership.

Addressing the crash of the Russian Metrojet airliner in Egypt, Ms. Gittens told a news reporter that a quick investigation would likely be a bad one, and that the governments involved should not rush to judgment and let the professional investigators do their jobs. “Once you tell me what happened, I can tell you how to fix it,” she concluded.​​​