Airline-airport relations supported by aviation leaders in Dubai

Airport operators and airlines need to establish a “mature relationship” through constant communication and finding a common goal can be good for the whole aviation industry, according to members of a panel at Airport Show 2018 in Dubai.

The panel discussion – ‘Can airports achieve deep and meaningful relationships with airlines’ – was part of the annual CAPA Global Airport Leaders’ forum in the heart of the United Arab Emirates.

The panel discussion, moderated by CAPA executive chairman, Peter Harbison included Bahrain Airport Company CEO, Mohamed Al Binfalah; Fraport VP of e-commerce, Jens Paul; Oman Airports CEO, Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed Al Hosni; Pittsburgh International Airport VP of air service development, Bryan Dietz and Redwater Consulting Group managing director, Anthony Circuttini.

The debate centered on how airlines and airports can seek the gains of recognising synergies in mutual areas of interest such as retail and merchandising. It was stated that sharing risk and development ideas is key.

Sheikh Aimen posed that the airline-airport relationship should be one that is mature and based upon strong communication. He evidenced the partnership of Emirates and flydubai and the growing passenger numbers the coupling of the two airlines has posted as an example of a successful collaboration airports and airlines could follow.

Aimen also noted that in Dubai, aviation is second only to oil as the biggest contributor to the country’s GDP, emphasising that the good health of the industry is really a benefiting factor nationally.

Similarly, yet on a smaller scale, comments made by Dietz of Pittsburgh airport agreed that a growing industry has wide-ranging benefits. He remarked that “[the airport] needs to transform Pittsburgh.” Pittsburgh airport is state-owned, therefore if airline-airport relations can ultimately boost the economy at a state level, the airport knows it is hitting its targets.

A final tangible benefit for passengers is in a new innovation that Oman Airports is focusing on: real-time baggage tracking for passengers. The CEO envisions that it is something that can be adopted as a uniform service and would greatly contribute to the passenger experience at an airport.