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International Conference on Airports, October 2009, Paris

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

The Académie de l'Air et de l'Espace (Air and Space Academy - AAE) organises a two-day conference on the theme 'Airports and their challenges' in the grand auditorium of the French Aviation Authority DGAC on 7-8 October 2009.

AAE organised a successful conference on the theme 'Airports of the future' in November 1995 in Paris. It is now necessary to take another look at this question so as to take account of changes, decisions and actions that have taken place in the mean time. The major challenges currently facing European aviation, particularly airports, make it crucial to assemble the players involved so as to discuss the future.

Why hold this conference?

Europe needs to develop new transport networks and infrastructure in order to support its industry and promote economic growth. Air transport has increased faster than any other mode of transport in the past 20 years and is expected to double in the next decade, but the problem of air traffic saturation is looming.


Airports are an essential element in the function of air transport, the latter being by nature a service activity. Despite the crucial, irreplaceable role airports play within the air transport system, their evolution and future prospects are sources of tension and even conflict between the different economic and political players involved.

Reflection is thus needed on how to guarantee sufficient airport capacity in the enlarged European Union whilst respecting the different constraints of safety, security, environment, customer satisfaction, intermodality, etc.

This conference will aim to achieve a broad, dynamic vision of the evolution of airports in Europe, the different challenges and constraints facing them, and their future prospects within a 15-20 year timeframe. The conference will bring together policy-makers and operators from the European air transport system in order to pool information on the current state of affairs, share new innovative ideas and encourage discussions about the future. AAE will aim to take account of any current research projects impacting on issues under discussion in the conference. Results will be diffused as widely as possible to interested parties in Europe and elsewhere.

Description of Work

AAE has a wide experience in organising conferences and will bring this experience to bear in attracting top-level speakers, and communicating efficiently so as to achieve an international profile, a high level of participation and optimal impact. The central location in the DGAC Paris will ensure high quality facilities: audiovisual means, translating resources, comfort and capacity, and the reception at the Automobile Club will provide a further opportunity for participants to mingle and share experiences and ideas to take back to their respective countries.

Expected Results

By engaging policy-makers and operators from the European air transport system in high quality exchanges, the conference will serve to take stock of the current situation and the issues facing airports, pool ideas as to how to tackle the various challenges and promote innovative ideas for the future. In doing so it will contribute to harmonising and optimising the air transport system on a European level.

The conference sessions are the following:

Session 1: Airports: meetings customers' needs;

Session 2: Airport services;

Session 3: Specific demands of sustainable development;

Session 4: Evolution and innovation.

After the conference, its impact will be maximised with the publication of proceedings and a recommendations booklet, as well as a follow-up on the AAE website.