The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has called for investments to be made in new air transport infrastructure in the form of additional runways, terminals and air traffic management capacity to meet traffic growth and expected deliveries of new aircraft to the region over the next 10 years.
The call was made at AAPA’s 62nd Assembly of Presidents in Jeju, Korea this week, where the association also said airlines are well placed to tackle upcoming business challenges, whilst remaining optimistic about long-term growth prospects.
AAPA said there is an ongoing debate on how such infrastructure should be funded, and the need for more effective cooperation between airlines, airports and governments.
The association said: “Against a backdrop of sustained economic growth, a growing middle class and increased demand for air travel, Asia Pacific air carriers continue to spearhead the development of this global industry by investing in next generation aircraft with the very latest cabin innovations across all classes, as well as other customer service initiatives.
“Reflecting strong business and leisure travel demand, the region’s airlines achieved an eight per cent growth in the number of international passengers carried during the first eight months of the year.
“Rising fuel costs and currency fluctuations are putting margins under pressure, although overall, Asia Pacific airlines are expected to deliver substantial profits for the fourth year in succession.”
Safety remains the top priority for Asia Pacific airline leaders, requiring what AAPA said is a “constant state of vigilance at all operational levels”, together with continued close co-operation between airlines, regulators and other stakeholders in setting standards and delivering further safety improvements.
Other issues deabted were cybersecurity which is also coming under increasing focus and environmental sustainability, along with taxes and charges, and passenger facilitation issues.
AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman said: “Air transport is widely recognised as a key contributor to economic and social development, built around strong global networks offering both passenger and air cargo services.
“We are delighted to be meeting here in Korea, the world’s eleventh largest economy, as well as a popular tourist destination. The dynamic airline sector epitomises the way in which region’s carriers are at the forefront of global air transport industry development.
“Working together as a community, AAPA is determined to tackle the numerous challenges that face the industry.”