The ACI Airport Exchange 2019 powered into action on its opening day at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre with a broad conference agenda that tackled the biggest industry issues while also showcasing the future of airport innovation.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) was firmly in the spotlight with CEO Bryan Thompson holding an opening session on the upcoming Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) as the new “gateway to Abu Dhabi”. Amongst other innovations, the MTB is designed to achieve a considerable reduction in annual energy consumption through the specification of an appropriate and climate-responsive building form and façade.
“This is the most exciting time in Abu Dhabi’s aviation history with the MTB nearing completion and the UAE’s travel and tourism sector continuing to grow rapidly,” said Thompson. “But as an industry we face many challenges such as fuel efficiency and sustainability, how best to enhance the passenger experience through technology and digital growth, and safety and security – all of which are being addressed at ACI Exchange.”
Later in the day, Sulaiman Al Siksek, Chief Programs Officer at ADAC, hosted a deep-dive session on the international hub’s expected benefits to airlines and passengers. He also noted how the hub will combine state-of-the-art facilities with an authentic Arabian hospitality experience.
Ahmed Juma Al Shamsi, Acting Chief Operations Officer at ADAC, then delivered a session on smart travel transforming the security and facilitation of airports. The session comes at a time when the UAE is positioning itself at the forefront of biometric travel and airports around the world strive to improve passenger flow.
Alongside keynote sessions, airport operations took center stage as conference delegates looked at everything from the future of electromobility to bird strike risks at airports and digitalization. 120 speakers are lined up during the three-day exhibition, which also features 75 exhibitor companies.
Later in the week, Thompson will return to the stage to share insights in a ‘Middle East Airport Leaders Masterclass’ together with HE Ali Salim Al Midfa (Sharjah Airport), Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni (Oman Airports), Gelban al-Gelban (Riyadh Airports), Sanjay Khanna (Ras Al Khaimah International Airport), and George Karamanos (KPI Aviation).
Throughout the event, VIP delegates will enjoy tours of the new Midfield Terminal, currently in advanced operational trials, while the opening day rounded off with a gala dinner providing delegates with global networking opportunities.