Our name may have changed over the years, but our mission has always been the same – to advocate for our airport members and provide services that strengthen the ability of airports to serve their passengers, customers, and communities. Prior to becoming ACI-NA in 1992, the Airport Operators Council International (AOCI) championed these same efforts on behalf of airports. Below are some of the key achievements of AOCI.

  • Good neighbor policies: Use of preferential runways, limited hours of operation, special climb procedures, purchase of additional land in approach areas, runway extensions to displace runway takeoff points, and use of sound barriers at run-up locations.
  • Noise abatement practices: Persistent lobbying in the 1960s led to laws that recognize that the federal government is responsible for the control and abatement of aircraft noise and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the power to enforce these standards. Regulations were also recognized at the manufacturing level.
  • Disability guides: First published in 1977, Access Travel: Airports serves as a guide on accessibility facilities at airports for disabled and elderly travelers.  It has been periodically updated.
  • Downes Award: Created in July 1972 as a distinguished service award that would recognize individual airport managers for extraordinary service to the industry. The criteria developed for this award would eventually be incorporated and expanded into the AOCI William E. Downes, Jr. Award for Excellence in Aviation, established in 1977. The first recipient, presented in 1978, was General Jimmy Doolittle for his work in the development of international aviation and his work in aircraft noise abatement policy. The Downes Award remains ACI-NA’s most prestigious award.
  • Airport Liability Insurance Program: Developed in 1979. Over the years, it has been continually supported by the airport membership.
  • Commissioners Roundtable: In 1980, there was a meeting of airport commissioners from 20 airports during the AOCI annual conference in Mexico City.  This was the first informal meeting of this constituency.  The commissioners believed since they represented the policy-making arm of airport boards there should be a separate forum for exchanging ideas in policy setting and assistance for lobbying efforts made by the group.  This led to informal “roundtable” meetings of the airport commissioners at annual conferences, the establishment of an annual congressional dinner/award function for airport congressional needs, and a mid-year meeting dedicated to representing specific commissioner interests.   In 1989, the Commissioners Roundtable was officially recognized by the members in the association’s bylaws, with a voting seat on the AOCI Board of Directors.
  • Bilateral Program: In the fall of 1982, the U.S. international airport members approved hiring a staff person to serve as technical advisor to the U.S. State Department’s air service bilateral negotiating team.
  • Associates Program: In early 1988, the board of directors received a report from an ad-hoc committee concerning club room hosts and consultants who sponsor social events at the annual conference. It indicated their desire for greater involvement in AOCI activities, principally in standing committee meetings. Later that summer, the board decided to form an Associates Program effective at the 1989 annual conference. Today Associate and World Business Partner members represent nearly 400 companies and have a voting seat on the ACI-NA Board of Directors.
  • Exhibitions: During the same period, AOCI introduced several educational exhibits, based on particular themes. They debuted at the 1989 annual conference in Houston and expanded at the1990 annual conference in Chicago.  The board decided that associates should be given priority and right of first refusal for available exhibit space.
  • PFCs: In 1990, AOCI was successful in lobbying Congress to authorize Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.  FAA subsequently codified the regulations for PFCs in regulation and the first PFCs were collected by McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas in 1991.  Today, PFCs have become a foundation of airport capital investment and are positively viewed by the bond rating agencies and investor community.

Click here to return to ACI-NA History >>