2009 Conference review

“An outstanding networking opportunity.

The fifteenth international conference and exhibition for passenger terminal design, management, security and technology was one of the most popular to date. Passenger Terminal EXPO 2009, held at the ExCel centre in London on 24, 25, 26 March, organised the world-class PTE conference, which saw over 200 influential speakers from across the world share their expert knowledge on many current industry issues, including operations optimisation and efficiency, revenue generation and cost reduction, and passenger processing and experience.

The main focus of the conference was overcoming the current economic crisis for all sectors of the aviation industry. But in light of these tough economic times, the conference was the most diverse and far-reaching in the event’s history. Across the three days, delegates participated in great debates and discussed many up-to-the-minute topics.

The worldwide airport development sessions saw speakers discuss the impact of the financial crisis on development, look at best practices in the management of airport strategy and effectiveness, and talk about how to overcome challenges in project management. There were also some great presentations on a number of international airports, including Vienna International, Munich International, Abu Dhabi Airports, Hyderabad International and Xi’an Xianyang International. 

Jeremy McGrath, commercial master-planning advisor for Sydney Airport Corporation chaired two of the worldwide airport development sessions. He said: “I enjoyed listening to the different developments and new trends, and there were a lot of issues that were of great use to me. The day was an excellent networking opportunity – as chairperson I got to meet all the speakers and exchange details, which led to a number of follow-ups on specific topics. Some of my professional colleagues in Europe/Asia are also regular attendees so it was a good opportunity to catch up with them and discuss their issues. My highlight of the conference was meeting some really interesting new people from the Middle East, India and China.”

The B.IT.S sessions looked at IT, systems integration, communications and management. Speakers included Malcolm Skene, head of performance and planning baggage operations for BAA Heathrow, Davesh Shukla, chief information officer for Hyderabad International Airport, and Eric Youngquist, manager of baggage strategy and planning at United Airlines, USA.

Youngquist commented: “I chose to attend the event to represent United Airlines and showcase our industry leading baggage service kiosk technology. The event was an outstanding networking opportunity – the best in the three years I have attended. During the B.IT.S sessions, I learnt a lot about the movement to green technologies, the current status of RFID technology, customer service advancements and general industry knowledge updates. My main highlight was the great networking opportunities I enjoyed.”

Aviation security and safety is always a topic high on airports and airlines agendas. In three different sessions, the PTE conference covered all the issued related to this area, including integrating security into passenger experience, security factors in terminal design and how to withstand attacks.

Argiris Mamais, head of airport planning at Athens International Airport, spoke about reducing vehicular traffic accidents in airports. He said: “The event was a very good networking opportunity, both in terms of fellow speakers and exhibitors’ representatives. It is always very useful to see the products in the exhibitor hall, or exchange views with the speakers. The environmental programmes, initiatives and sustainable aviation sessions were particularly interesting. Congratulations for the overall great work!”

Dr Patricia Ryan, President of Decision Services International LLC, and affiliate of Airport Consultants International, chaired the commercial development, strategy and concessions sessions. She commented: “This event attracts decision-makers from airports around the world who focus on particular topics, so attending this conference is a good way to network and hear good presentations from knowledgeable people. The three-day event was an excellent networking opportunity and I learnt how other airport professionals are addressing the challenges and opportunities around the world. I also discovered how innovative some airport professionals are in creating new non-aeronautical revenue.”

Other PTE conference sessions included border control – management and challenges; enhancing passenger experience through customer service and innovative resources; environmental programmes, initiatives and sustainable aviation; and the IATA StB day.

Running alongside the Passenger Terminal EXPO and conference was the Railway Terminal Design and Operations Conference. Held over the same three days, this unique event brought together an international audience of railway station operators, architects, consultants and suppliers to discuss issues related to managing complex railway projects around the world.

The opening day alone saw discussions on some of the world’s most impressive railway stations, including St Pancras International and New York’s historic Grand Central Station. Chief architect on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Alastair Lansley from ARUP, revealed the secrets behind the success of ‘Europe’s destination station’ – St Pancras International. Speaking at the event, Lansley said: “The development of St Pancras has rekindled a new revolution in railway history and has put the station back on the international map.”

Michael Sweeney, vice president of AECOM, USA, presented the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) US$7 billion East Side Access (ESA) project that will connect MTA’s Long Island Railroad (LIRR), to New York’s historic Grand Central Station.

There were also presentations from Akihiko Nakamura, general manager of the Central Japan Railway Company, Fabio Battaggia, CEO of Grandi Stazioni in Italy, and Mike Storey, head of capital rail projects for the Olympic Delivery Authority, UK.

In between conference sessions, PTE delegates gathered in bustling coffee and lunch areas to catch up with old friends, meet new faces and make the most of the great networking opportunity. The easy-going, friendly atmosphere of the whole event enables delegates, visitors and exhibitors to relax and freely discuss the issues of the day. 

Wolfgang Weil, chief operations officer and member of the board of directors at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport commented: “The networking opportunities were excellent. The speakers gave good in-depth views on the latest, state-of-the-art developments and trends in the industry. They were very helpful indeed.”

Brian Keene, director of airport services, Continental Airlines, USA, said: “PTE was an extremely good networking opportunity for me. I was specifically impressed with the major in-roads made in bag drop systems. My highlight of the session was the variety of B.IT.S session speakers that were present.”

With such a wide range of issues being discussed, over 200 influential speakers in attendance and an exhibition full of the very latest innovations, Passenger Terminal EXPO 2009 has once again confirmed its position as the leading international conference and exhibition for the passenger terminal industry.



It’s been fantastic. I think the majority of the speakers here have been unique and I have learned a lot
Ivonne Gamboa, Director, Terminal Connectivity Program, Calgary Airport Authority, Canada




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