15 April 2014 - The Airport Cities World Conference & Exhibition is the global platform providing thought leadership, best practice, innovation and high-level debate and discussion around the creation and development of airport cities.
As air travel continues to grow, airports are becoming multifaceted developments, not merely focusing on the core business of transporting persons and goods but developing into truly multimodal transport facilities, that encompass both aviation associated industries and other commercial developments. As a consequence, they have also become powerful engines of local economic development.
Effective planning and design of both airports, and the areas around them, provides the opportunity to maximise the potential for economic growth, and the conference provided an excellent platform for sharing these learnings.
Now in its 13th year, this year's event was hosted by Malaysia Airports and took place in Kuala Lumpur. According to the conference organisers; "The 2014 event continues to unite the entire 'airport city' community with senior decision makers attending from airports, airlines, economic development agencies, financial institutions, real estate and urban development companies, industry suppliers and global and regional businesses."
"Within modern cities, airports have become major drivers of urban form, economic activity and city competitiveness," says Matt Coetzee, Urbanisation Competency Leader.
"The airport city or 'Aerotropolis' aims to take advantage of these changes and optimise the positive effects the airport can have on the economy and on communities," adds Matt.
At the conference, Mondli Gungubele, Executive Mayor City of Ekurhuleni, presented a paper on how the Ekurhuleni OR Tambo Aerotropolis in Gauteng, South Africa, offers a unique opportunity to apply the lessons from other airports, to the development of a truly African airport city solution.
An Aurecon-led consortium is undertaking this study, for the Mayor and his team, and the conference therefore provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Aurecon's capability and experience in aerotropolis studies. Aurecon's aviation capability extends, of course, beyond just the Aerotropolis and spans property, air side, planning and transport services to these major pieces of infrastructure.
"The Aerotropolis is essentially an economic development strategy designed to increase competitiveness in global markets, leveraging the access that air travel and air freight provides to global clients," says Matt. "It's the future and we aim to be part of delivering solutions to clients, wherever they may be located."
This year's event showcased Kuala Lumpurs's own KLIA Aeropolis development plan and focused on providing unique insights into some of the most exciting and innovative airport city and aerotropolis models within the wider Asia region. The airport city and its greater Aerotropolis are changing the way we work, the way we live, and the way metropolitan regions grow – a theme these conferences continue to explore.