The aviation community is a global one. But differences in economic and technological resources between the developed and developing world can potentially create capability gaps. This is why members of the Airports Council International (ACI) trade association of airports have introduced a series of links between developed and developing-country airports, improving safety, security and efficiency throughout the global airport community.

The ACI Fund, launched in 1993, is financed by donations from airports across the world. Its purpose is to design, develop and conduct professional training seminars from airports in developing countries

The seminars focus on practical training in the areas of safety, security and economics that build long-term staff competencies. The seminars are offered free of charge, including meals. The only cost to qualified participants is the airfare.  Since 2009, ACI Fund has partnered with CIFAL Atlanta / UNITAR to deliver up to six seminars a year. Each seminar brings together airport managers from different nations and cultures in a practical training environment. Experts from airports and civil aviation organisations serve as instructors for 30 to 40 trainees, including staff from the host airport. The Fund has delivered around 50 seminars to over 1,500 participants, who are then able to take the knowledge back to their airport and apply it in daily operations.

The Fund also delivers courses in the regions that need them. After Lomé-Tokoin Airport in Togo became the first airport to sign up to ACI’s new Airport Excellence in Safety Programme, the Fund ran a course on safety management systems at the airport. International experts presented to staff from Lomé as well as other member airports in the region.

The ACI Developing Nations Assistance programme provides scholarships for airports from less developed nations to participate in ACI Global Training Hub courses, in person and online. And ACI also provides links so that developed nation airports can sponsor the participation of developing nation airports to attend important ACI events, such as the World Annual General Assembly. This allows recipient airports to meet with their colleagues and exchange ideas on best practices.