The airport capacity – Round table

3 July 2019 – At the ENAC headquarters in via Gaeta n. 3 (Rome) an annual conference was held, organized by the Centro Studi Demetra which, this year, dealt with a very topical subject: AIRPORT CAPACITY.

The appointment has given rise to an important reflection on the process of liberalization and privatization of air transport started in Europe since the 1980s.

A process that has determined an exponential acceleration of air mobility, setting itself as an essential condition to guarantee the right to movement of people and goods in the territory of each Member State, thus intercepting the ever-increasing needs of citizens to travel without limitations in a context territorial, Europe, which, not only geographically but also culturally, today represents the national identity, at least, of the new generations.

In Italy, in 2018, the sector handled a total of 185 million passengers, registering an increase of 5.9% compared to 2017, with a higher growth rate than the European one. In fact, the consistent increase of continental air connections with the saturation of the skies and infrastructures, also due to environmental problems, pushes flights to Italy with prudential estimates that foresee that, in our country, in 2035 we will move to over 300 million passengers.

Thus, it is necessary that the political authority, the institutional referents and the operators share long-term strategies aimed at addressing the expected new volumes of air traffic for the necessary modernization of the airports, adopting, on an immediate basis, timely assessment of risk assessment with the simultaneous introduction of operational measures able to allow, at our airports, the possibility of managing, in safety, the growing demand for air connections, without being subject to restrictions for the possible saturation of airport capacity.

In the outlined context, it appears, therefore, of fundamental importance to define an “optimal” level of capacity of the individual airports with increasing attention to environmental sustainability if integration, standardization and interoperability of the processes are at the base of operational and technological changes, thus making the airports able to respond effectively to the demands of the growing market.