“The best conference in the business.” This was just one of the great comments that came from this year’s Passenger Terminal Conference
The 2011 Passenger Terminal Conference was regarded by speakers and delegates alike as the best international conference in the industry. The event is the ideal platform for sharing new ideas and strategies, showcasing leading case studies, strengthening existing relationships and gaining new contacts. With over 1,000 people in attendance, the PTX 2011 conference reached new heights in terms of delegate/speaker interaction and learning through the many detailed conferences and panels on offer.
Khalid Naja, Chief Operating Officer, Chicago Department of Aviation, USA, who spoke in the Airport Environment and Sustainability session, said, “This is the premier conference. We have counterparts, investors and technical individuals from across the globe come here to share their thoughts and to discuss options.” Naja spoke on day two of the event about the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Sustainable Airport Manual (SAM), which has received national and international recognition as the model for green airport development.
Declan Collier, Chief Executive, Dublin Airports Authority, Ireland, also shared his thoughts on the event: “This is a very international conference and as a result we get to listen to people in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, among many other countries. We’re learning new things all the time and that’s what is really great about sharing our experiences and getting feedback.”
Collier took part in day one’s Leaders Forum, which focused on ‘How to mould the future of your airport – overcoming the obstacles’, and was within the Airport, Design, Planning and Development session. Collier also highlighted the diverse range of people attending the conference. “From the chief executive all the way down, you’ve such a range of different people here,” he added. “Then you’ve got the suppliers, the engineering construction companies and the designers. We all have one thing in common – we want to do the right thing and we want to do it as well as we can.”
Positive feedback from this year’s event was overwhelming. Ally Shearer, Manager of Border Security and Facilitation at Virgin Atlantic Airways, UK, with a nod from her colleague Andy Blackwell, Head of Security and Resilience, said, “This is the best conference in the business – and you can quote me on that!”
And Dr. Patricia Ryan, President, Decision Services International, USAadded: “The calibre of information and speakers at the conference was excellent – my expectations were high and they were met. Speakers were well informed and provided excellent information, and were willing to respond to questions with candid answers. I am still digesting all the information from the conference months later.”
This year the conference was more diverse than ever. Alongside the Airport, Design, Planning and Development, and the Airport Environment and Sustainability sessions already mentioned, the event covered areas such as security, concessions, IT and communications, check-in technologies, passenger experience, baggage, border control, and air-rail links.
Noormah Mohd Noor, CEO, Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, took part in the new Air-Rail Links session on day three. Mohd Noor spoke about the Kuala Lumpur air-rail connection experience as a privatised project. “It’s very heartening to find that the Passenger Terminal Conference included the Air-Rail Links session,” she said. “For any new airport or existing sizeable international and domestic airports, it is imperative to ensure that an efficient and sustainable mode of transportation is available as an option to the public. The recent was very well organised – interesting exhibition and an excellent opportunity for networking!”.
The Air-Rail session brought together a line-up of expert speakers and proved to be an extremely popular topic. Giuseppe Rizzo, Project Manager of European Policies for the European Commission, added, “...I was impressed by the quality of the presentations and the real interest shown...there wasn't the usual hurry-away. On the contrary, most people remained for further contacts, questions and networking. I liked very much the joint presentation from Copenhagen Airports. This was an interesting case of best practice, with some great ideas. Presentations about Frankfurt, probably the most intermodal airport in the world, were also very interesting.
The panel discussion was quite lively and interesting and the atmosphere was relaxed yet interesting questions were made, including from Iranian airports. Let's not forget air-rail intermodality is a relatively ‘secondary’ aspect of the huge airport world. The conference overall is like Ali Baba's Cave: with such a number of presentations on such a wide range of subjects there is something for everyone!”
The baggage handling sessions were also very popular and attracted a number of delegates who discussed the emerging technologies in self-service, processing and automation. Mark Lakerveld, Senior Manager of Baggage at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, The Netherlands said, “PTX 2011 for me was very inspiring. It's good to hear from all specialists what they foresee will happen in the aviation sector and specifically with baggage handling. It opens the mind and it gives new insights and opportunities. I also made a number of very valuable contacts at the event.”
Brian Keene, Director of Worldwide Baggage Performance at United Airlines was also impressed with the baggage session. "IT, electronic check-in and baggage handling sessions were very well attended. We were thrilled at the progress being made in Australia related to the elimination of ticket counter check-in for Domestic Qantas. Significant progress continues on RFID enhancements in Las Vegas, and state of the art inline baggage systems are proliferating airports worldwide. This year we saw conventional tradition take a back seat to innovation and enhanced technology. Our airports and air carriers are demonstrating a focused vision and aggressive implementation that will ensure rapid deployment of new and creative processes. The future looks very promising.”
In the Check-in and Passenger Processing session, topics such as self-service, automation, centralisation, performance improvement and increasing revenue were covered. Samuel Ingalls, Assistant Director of Aviation, Information Systems at McCarran International Airport, USA said, “The session provided the opportunity for industry leaders to share information on the latest improvements in passenger processing technologies and processes. There was considerable excitement generated around recent trials, such as the commencement of customer-affixed baggage tagging in the United States and enhancements to that process in other parts of the world.”
Dr Mark Watson, Head of Environmental Affairs, Cathay Pacific Airlines, Hong Kong, Chinaspoke on day two of the event in the Airport Environment and Sustainability session on ‘Effective sustainability management at airports: an airline perspective’. Watson commented, “It’s the first time that I have actually been to this particular event – one of the things that really impressed me was the global reach and the global nature of the event. Obviously I am from Asia-Pacific, and there are other people here including from Singapore for example and a lot of people from the USA and Europe because it’s the host destination. Certainly I was really impressed by just how much work is going on in this area [sustainability] and also it was very nice to be part of a session where we talked about sustainability for over two days, so there was a big focus on it.”
Security remained an important topic of discussion throughout the three-day conference. Sessions on this topic included Border Control – Security, Automation and Biometrics, and Aviation Safety and Security. Roland Augustin, Deputy Senior Vice President for Security Services at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, The Netherlandsspoke in the Aviation Security session on ‘Enterprising aviation in a hostile environment’. Augustin says, “The conference was well organised and had some interesting speakers. Moreover, it was a great opportunity to network with like-minded people. Here you have the only opportunity to experience all aspects of aviation: from seats to trolleys and from security to spotters!”
Looking back on the conference, Janine McEvilly, Conference Director, said: “This year's Passenger Terminal Conference was jam-packed from start to finish with the constant exchange of ideas and information. The interaction has been superb and feedback on the conference, the speakers, the topics and the organisation has been phenomenal. Attendees say that this really is the international conference that all airports and airlines should be attending – and I have many quotes from delegates saying just that. I am so pleased, it definitely has been our best event to date and I look forward to improving on it again next year in Vienna.”
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