Aerotropolis – cracking the 20th century thinking about airports

Posted on in Events News

ARCEVENTS: Air traffic was not the most talked about subject at the Aerotropolis EMEA conference, held last week in Manchester. The most emphasised point among the speakers and delegates was connectivity, both by air and ground, because, as the co-author of the book Aerotropolis – The Way We'll Live Next, prof. John Kasarda said, "Accessibility is key".

According to Kasarda, Aerotropolis is more than just a transport hub, it is a strategy, a process rather than a project.

"Airports today are so much more than a place where aeroplanes land, they are enterprises, accommodating full set of cargo, logistics and commercial facilities on or around the premises," Kasarda said.

Kasarda emphasised that Airport City and Aerotropolis are not the same thing. Instead, Airport City is the most intensively used portion of Aerotropolis, with the passenger terminal functioning as a town square of a regular city.

Another interesting point Kasarda raised, was the distinction between aeronautical and non-aeronautical development. According to him, this is an artificial divide and a 20th century thinking.


"There is a huge misconception that non-aeronautical development isn't a direct benefit to aeronautical business. It improves passenger experience and financial health of the airport, as numerous airports achieve greater percentage of revenues from non-aeronautical services than aeronautical."

But let's go back to the importance of ground access. Kasarda stressed, that measuring the distance of Aerotropolis, the metrics is not how far away it is but how fast you can connect to either housing, offices or anywhere else you need to go.

"Aerotropolis is as much about air connectivity as surface connectivity," Kasarda said.

And many airport speakers, including Gatwick, Munich and Manchester agreed with this sentiment.

"We are a hub for rail connectivity as well as air," Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer for London Gatwick Airport said presenting the significant investment into improving rail access to his airport.