- The first steps are taken in Quito towards an international airport operation that is environmentally friendly.
In pursuit of promoting cooperation between the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, a UN specialized agency), aviation stakeholders and airports worldwide, Airports Council International (ACI) has developed the Airport Excellence (APEX) Programmes, which currently includes APEX in Safety and APEX in Security.
The objective of APEX is to define proceedings and knowledge in the specific areas of operations through information exchanges and evaluations of ACI best practices. The regulatory framework of APEX is based on ICAO standards and international aviation laws to maximize operational efficiency and safety standards of airports.
At this juncture in time, the world is looking for a way to develop its activities while respecting the environment and mitigating the environmental impact of climate change. So, at its 27th ACI Annual General Assembly in Mauritius, Africa, ACI World decided to create the APEX in Environment pilot plan, thereby making care of the environment an official resolution of this international organization.
The Quito International Airport, the only greenfield airport in the region, has an advantage in this area. With modern infrastructure and founded with a vision to construct efficient facilities with environmentally friendly regulations, it was created with a robust environmental and social management plan.
Corporación Quiport offered to host the APEX in Environment pilot program, confident in its environmental procedures and knowing that it would be a great learning process. On July 7, 2018, the attendees of the APEX in Environment pilot arrived in Quito led by Danny Boutin, Senior Manager of APEX Programmes, accompanied by Francisco Medela, ACI-LAC Industry Affairs Manager; Juliana Scavuzzi, ACI World Aviation Environmental Specialist; Kristi McKenney, Manager of Aviation at Oakland Airport, USA, and Emanuel Fleuti, Head of Environmental Protection at Zurich Airport.
Andrew O’Brian, President and CEO of Quiport, received the group, stating “We are very aware of our responsibility to have an efficient operation that is environmentally friendly, and it is precisely for this reason that we want to participate in this new APEX in Environment pilot. Corporación Quiport is committed to continue participating in this program and to share our experience with other airports in the region and around the world, and also to learn from their experiences.”
The APEX party spent a week thoroughly inspecting the different facilities at Quito airport, such as the waste recycling plant, wastewater treatment plant, falconry and bird rehabilitation facilities; as well as Quiport’s social projects that benefit neighboring communities.
“ACI is the voice of airports, and as such we feel that we should be innovators on many fronts, with special emphasis on the environment,” explained Danny Boutin, Senior Manager of APEX Programmes. In turn, Juliana Scavuzzi stated “airports are development hubs for their communities, but not just that, airports, through their policies and actions, can forge a path and create positive change in their territories.”
Representatives from Oakland and Zurich airports reached favorable conclusions on the environmental and social management programs and practices of Quiport. Kristi McKenney stated “I want to congratulate Quiport for opening its doors to this party to evaluate and analyze all the environmental and social work it has been doing. We have been impressed by the range of programs it runs.”
The aim of this visit was to lay the ground for the creation of the APEX in Environment program which is to be applied in hundreds of airports around the world. The experts left Quito with positive experiences, leaving recommendations for optimizing processes at Quito airport, and important lessons that will be replicated with a view to ensure that airports are allies of good environmental management.