ACI – Airports International Council


Based in Montréal, Canada, Airports Council International (ACI) is a non-profit organization, whose prime purpose is to advance the interests of airports and to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations. By fostering cooperation amongst airports, world aviation organizations and business partners, ACI seeks to provide the travelling public a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible air transport system. ACI is the voice of the airports in interacting with world bodies and advocates for the global airports industry before the media and opinion leaders. International partner organizations include the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other specialized UN Organizations; the association also works closely with other worldwide organizations, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA). ACI has an observer status at the ICAO Air Navigation Commission; the ACI Liaison Office with ICAO in Montréal opened in 1994.


   Logo of ACI


In January 1948, nineteen U.S. commercial airports gathered in New York City to form the Airports Operators Council (AOC) to address and solve mutual problems facing airports in the U.S.; it was based in Washington, D.C., Topics like airport operations and airport relations with the federal government and other segments of the industry topped the list. The founding members included Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington.


Due to the evolving nature of international air transport, AOC recognized that airports did not have an international body and that its future would lie in its active, direct involvement in international political activities. In May 1966, AOC recommended a name change to better reflect its increasing international activities and goals and became Airport Operators Council International (AOCI).


On 6 December 1970, the Airports Associations Coordinating Council (AACC, based in Geneva) was established to represent collectively on the international scene the following three airport associations: the Airport Operators Council International (AOCI); the International Civil Airports Association (ICAA) created in 1962 and based in Paris; and the Western European Airports Association (WEAA) created in 1950 and based in Zurich. Up until then, the three associations had collaborated on an informal ad hoc basis and had presented the interests of their memberships to other international organizations separately. The AACC had the responsibility of coordinating and establishing unified positions in matters of interest to the international airport industry, and communicating these positions to other international aviation organizations and governmental bodies. ICAO granted AACC observer status in 1971. After WEAA was dissolved in 1985, AACC became a bipartite body.


In 1989, AOCI and ICAA began to discuss how the international aspects of both associations could be successfully integrated by forming a new, single, worldwide organization which would be based in Geneva, where AACC was located, but which would replace AACC.  The Constitution of the new Airports Association Council International, based in Geneva, was approved by AOCI and ICAA memberships in the autumn of 1990 and came into effect on 1 January 1991. The initial name AACI was changed in 1992 to Airports Council International (ACI). AOCI became Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) representing airports in the USA, Canada and the Virgins Islands.


ACI comprises five geographical regions, each operating as an independent trade group under a collective affiliation through the ACI brand.

To pursue the work with regional governmental and non-governmental organizations, they are supported by specialized committees and task forces. The regions with their regional offices are:

1.    Africa (Casablanca)

2.    Asia-Pacific (Hong Kong)

3.    Europe (Brussels)

4.    Latin America-Caribbean (Quito)

5.    North America (Washington, DC).

Representing most commercial airports in the USA and Canada, Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) is the largest of the five worldwide regions of ACI.


ACI is the “voice of the airports” in interacting with world bodies and advocating for the global airports industry before the media and opinion leaders. International partner organizations include the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ACI is one of only a few organizations having observer status with ICAO and it has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN/ECOSOC). The Association also works closely with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and regional airline associations. Contacts are maintained with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), the International Air Rail Organization (IARO), the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and other worldwide organizations. ACI is a member of the International Industry Working Group (IIWG), which brings together the three principal segments of the world’s civil aviation industry, namely airports, airlines and manufacturers. This tripartite group (ACI, IATA and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations – ICCAIA) is entrusted with tackling common problems related to the design, development and compatibility of aircraft and airports.


The ACI Liaison Office with ICAO in Montréal opened in May 1994 to enhance further the interface between the two organizations and to contribute to a greater awareness in ICAO of airports’ policies and concerns. More recently, ACI inaugurated its world headquarters in Montréal on 3 May 2011, close to ICAO, in collaboration with Montréal International. The international organization, which, in 2011, comprised 580-member airport authorities operating more than 1,650 airports in 179 countries, is thus closer to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other air transportation international organizations already established in Montréal. ACI thus enhances its ability to represent the interests of airport authorities to ICAO, its member states and its permanent delegations, and better coordinates its actions with ICAO’s initiatives in the areas of safety, security, environment, training and operational efficiency.


ICAO and ACI have linked up to improve safety at airports worldwide. Under the MoU signed on 15 June 2012, ICAO and ACI will work together on technical assistance programs, support regional collaboration, exchange data and attain mutual access to each other’s databases. The MoU also supports the development of the ACI Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety Programme, according to a press release. A resource to help airports spot and remedy potential safety risks, APEX incorporates information-sharing, training, and technical assistance. Roberto Kobeh González, President of the Council of ICAO, praised the partnership, remarking on the tangible benefits that will be gleaned from it. 


On 1 March 2016, ACI World director general Angela Gittens and ICAO secretary general, Dr. Fang Liu, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will reinforce the agencies’ cooperation on airport security. Under the MoU, ACI and ICAO will work more closely toward the objectives of ACI’s Airport Excellence (APEX) in Security program, including working together to deliver security reviews, technical assistance, programs for airport personnel training and the enhancement of regional partnerships.


On 8 June 2017, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, and Airports Council International (ACI) Director General Angela Gittens signed a special Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering their new training partnership, and which will see their organizations collaborating on joint airport training programmes and specific courses focused on airport management, airport economics, environmental protection, operational safety, security procedures, and other subjects as identified. “ICAO is strengthening its collaboration with ACI and reaffirming its commitment to providing targeted assistance in training and human resources capacity building to ICAO Member States,” highlighted Secretary General Liu.


ACI celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011 (1991-2011),


On the occasion of the Airports Council International (ACI) Latin America and Caribbean/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition in Cancun (WAGA 2021, held from 21 to 24 November 2021), ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar and ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira signed a new ICAO-ACI Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 23 November 2021 that supports the effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and ACI best practices through the provision of enhanced airport training activities related to airport operations and management, encompassing both organization’s safety, security, and sustainability provisions. The agreement establishes a dual ICAO-ACI recognition process for training organizations that are either the training arms of airports, or that have the delivery of airport operations and management training as their primary mandate. “Implemented under the umbrella of the ICAO TRAINAIR PLUS Programme (TPP), this dual recognition aims to ensure that training organizations are up to date in airport training, while promoting the delivery of courses using the latest technologies available and in accordance with airport best practices,” remarked Secretary General Salazar.


On 23 December 2022, Airports Council International (ACI) World and ICAO, have announced the appointment of Ms. Angela Gittens, former Director General of ACI World, as the programme ambassador for the renowned ACI-ICAO Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme (AMPAP). AMPAP, a joint initiative between ACI World and ICAO, is the longest-running training cooperation between the two global aviation organizations. The aim of the programme is to develop a new generation of airport management professionals through a curriculum that covers all functional areas of the airport business. Successful completion of the Programme leads to the issuance of the globally recognized International Airport Professional (IAP) designation or AMPAP Associate diploma award. Ms. Gittens’s appointment as Programme Ambassador of AMPAP aims to further promote the Programme as the premier global airport management accreditation.


Airports Council International (ACI) World launched the Sustainability Expansion Plan, funded by Montréal International with the support of the Government of Canada, the Government of Québec, and the City of Montréal. The plan sees continued investment in the city of Montreal, the World Capital of Civil Aviation, and in the sustainability of airports as essential enablers of economic growth and prosperity. The launch was celebrated with government officials and top aviation and investment representatives at the ACI World Cocktail Reception on 4 May 2023, at the iconic Place Ville Marie, in Montréal, Canada. The Sustainability Expansion Plan strengthens ACI World’s sustainability initiatives that support its global airport membership in all disciplines of airport management and that align with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The plan also contributes to ACI World and its member airports’ commitment to reaching the aviation industry’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in turn supporting the sustainable growth of the sector and generating social and economic benefits for the communities it serves.



Turkey – Covers commemorating the 10th Session of the International Civil Airports Association (ICAA).

5 October 1970 – ICAA emblems and cancels in black and blue.


Switzerland First Day Cover – 12th World Congress of the International Civil Airports Association (ICAA), held in Geneva from 19 to 23 June 1972. Sketch of Boeing 747-257B from Swissair.


Service cover sent by the Airport Operators Council International (AOCI) to ICAO.

Postmarked on 17 May 1978.



Republic of Korea – 17 October 1989 – Full sheet of 20 stamps and First Day Cover.

29th World Congress of the International Civil Airports Association (ICAA).



Two stamps and De Luxe sheet (with serial number) issued by Monaco to commemorate the 30th (and last) World Congress of the International Civil Airports Association (ICAA), held in Monaco from 24 to 28 September 1990. The silk picture on the sheet shows the Aerospatiale SA-365C-3 Dauphin 2 helicopters from Heli Air Monaco, registered 3A-MJP in Monaco. The De Luxe sheet is part of an album prepared by “Les oeuvres sociales du personnel des PTT” in Monaco.


Service cover sent by pouch from the Airports Association Council International (AACI).

Must be dated 1990-1992.


ACI Service cover sent to ICAO – Postmarked on 17 January 1994.


Canada’s official first day cover, issued for the 50th anniversary of ICAO in 1994, was overprinted with the emblem of the ACI-NA, on the occasion of the 3rd Annual ACI-NA Regional Conference and Exhibition, held in Toronto, Canada, from 25 to 28 September 1994. This overprinted cover was made available to the participants at the conference.

The cachet of this cover complements the Canadian stamp by depicting a modern airport tower located at Saint-Hubert, Province of Québec, Canada.

ACI-NA was formed in 1948 as the Airport Operators Council (AOC) and the organization celebrated in 2008 its 60th anniversary. ACI-NA is the largest of the five worldwide regions of Airports Council International (ACI).