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Safety, protection of the environment, human resources and maximizing commercial revenues take centre stage as world airports gather in Panama

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The Airports Council International (ACI) Latin America-Caribbean/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition (WAGA), organized this year under the theme “Airports: Shaping our future” and graciously hosted by Tocumen International Airport, kicked off yesterday with a comprehensive pre-conference programme that included sessions on safety, the environment, human resources and maximizing commercial revenues.
The standing room only forums and symposia marked the beginning of three days of presentations and discussions aimed at charting the course for a safe, secure, sustainable and economically viable future for the world’s airports.
The morning’s ACI World HR Forum was centred on the importance of airports engaging their workforce and attracting future talent. The forum featured a panel dedicated to exploring the challenges related to engaging employees and two workshops on attracting talent and ensuring work-life balance.
Taking place at the same time as the World HR Forum was the Environment Forum, which focused on how airports can secure permission to grow. Attendees explored topics such as environmental constraints, tackling emissions management and engaging communities, in addition to learning about the latest developments from ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, which has gone global with 128 participating airports.
The afternoon’s Safety Symposium was dedicated to exploring emerging safety priorities and risk mitigation; the International Civil Aviation Organization’s safety priorities for Latin America-Caribbean; FAA initiatives in the region; and ACI’s popular Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety programme.
Taking place concurrently was the Commercial Forum. Maximizing commercial revenues continues to be a key management objective at airports worldwide, despite airport size or ownership model, and attendees had occasion to evaluate the latest airport commercial trends worldwide with a particular emphasis on developments in the Latin America-Caribbean region.
“This year’s pre-conference programme was expanded from last year’s due to popular demand, and we’re very pleased with the turnout—in fact, all four forums were at capacity, a clear indication that delegates are receptive of these value-added pre-conference events,” said Javier Martinez Botacio, Director General, ACI Latin America-Caribbean.
“There is no better way to begin a conference dedicated to shaping the future of airports than by concentrating on four ACI priorities: safety, environmental stewardship, our people and economic sustainability,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. “Given the strong participation we witnessed in the forums, we’re expecting the conference itself to be a dynamic exploration of how airports can shape a successful future.”
At the latest count, over 600 delegates, 45 exhibitors and 26 event sponsors are taking part in WAGA 2015. The conference has been crafted from the ground up to give delegates the chance to deliberate on issues of particular interest to airports. Session topics include CEO insights on future challenges and opportunities; catering to the emerging generation of air travelers; improving the passenger journey from curb to boarding; best practices during periods of disruption; and new tools and technologies for improving the customer experience.
Notably, keynote speakers at the event include Jorge Quijano, Chief Executive Officer, Panama Canal Authority and Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive Officer, Copa Holdings and Copa Airlines. ACI is pleased to announce that Juan Carlos Varela, President of Panama, will open the conference on 1 September.

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