Leaders of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) called on governments across Asia to adopt a more positive attitude towards the industry and work meaningfully towards removing obstacles that hinder its sustainable growth.
The annual gathering of chief executives at the 63rd AAPA Assembly of Presidents meeting – originally scheduled for Hong Kong, was shifted to Kuala Lumpur because of the escalating violence between democracy protestors and police – saw six key resolutions passed. These include resolutions on Environment, Cybersecurity, Infrastructure, Slots, Passenger Facilitation and Taxation.
The AAPA notes that Asia Pacific carriers have developed an outstanding reputation for effectively and flexibly responding to challenges over many decades and as a result, remain at the forefront of the global air transport industry today, but “the industry is now entering a challenging phase”.
“The emergence of Asia as a powerhouse driving the global economy during the 21st century naturally creates a sense of optimism for the region’s dynamic air transport industry in the long term,” says Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general.
“However, success cannot be automatically assured without robust efforts to support carriers, who continue to face an ever increasing number of challenges to achieving strategic development and growth. Given the significant contribution that air transport makes towards wider economic and social development, governments need to adopt a much more positive attitude towards the industry, and work meaningfully towards removing obstacles that hinder the sustainable growth of the industry,” Herdman adds.
With air travel demand projected to more than double over the next two decades, and the Asia Pacific region expanding at an even faster rate, there is a clear need for airport and air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure development to keep pace with such demand, the AAPA says.
AAPA calls upon Asian governments and all industry stakeholders to work more closely together to deliver effective ATM services to meet present and future operational requirements; and to collaborate beyond national borders and commit to the development and implementation of enhanced Asia Pacific air traffic flow management systems.
With anxieties about the impact of climate change gaining increasing momentum around the world this year, AAPA is calling on governments and industry stakeholders to collaborate more closely in collective efforts to address aviation’s climate impact and promote sustainable aviation.
AAPA calls on governments and operators to work together towards the effective implementation of the ICAO CORSIA scheme in a way that is fair and equitable, avoids competitive market distortion, and recognises the interests of developed and developing nations. AAPA also calls on governments to refrain from applying duplicative requirements on international aviation CO2 emissions.
The civil aviation sector is increasingly reliant on complex information and communications technology systems, as well as on maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of data. Today, cybersecurity threats to civil aviation are continuously evolving, whether targeting operational safety, business disruption or the theft of information for other motivations.
As such, AAPA urges governments, industry and other stakeholders to establish a global and regional approach to cybersecurity built on the basis of trust and transparency, and to work together to enhance cyber threat awareness, promote cybersecurity culture, and strengthen cyber resilience.
Air travel accessibility
Air travel is now an essential means of transport with over four billion passengers travelling worldwide by air annually. AAPA calls on governments to work closely with other aviation stakeholders towards a shared long term vision of harmonised international practices on the facilitation of passengers with disabilities, with the aim of achieving a more inclusive air transport system.
Additionally, AAPA calls on governments to support ICAO efforts to develop a work programme on improving accessibility for passengers with disabilities, in a safe, secure and dignified manner, using evidence-based approaches that are practical and cost-effective.
An increasing number of capacity constrained airports around the world require a process for allocating airport slots. AAPA calls on governments and slot coordinators to manage the allocation of slots in an independent, transparent, fair and non-discriminatory manner in line with ICAO guidance and established international standards and procedures such as the Worldwide Airport Slots Guidelines, recognising the benefits of a single, globally harmonised approach to slot management involving all stakeholders to optimise the efficiency and predictability of air transport services.
In addition, AAPA calls on governments to ensure timely investments in the development of aviation-related infrastructure, including airport runways and terminal capacity, as well as modernising air traffic management systems, to meet the projected growth in demand for air transport, to the benefit of the wider economy.
Airlines and the travelling public continue to bear the burden of numerous taxes and charges imposed by governments, as well as monopolistic service providers and other agencies. Recently introduced or increased taxes on air travel include Malaysia’s Departure Levy, the New Zealand International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy and the imposition of various levies by different governments such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, often under the guise of environmental initiatives. Further, a number of airports are imposing or increasing passenger service charges as pre-funding mechanisms to finance future infrastructure facilities.
At a time when the industry is already having to cope with an increasingly challenging business environment, and recognising the adverse impact on the wider travel and tourism sector, AAPA renews its call on governments to refrain from increasing the burden of aviation levies in any form on international air travellers.
The 16 members of the AAPA include:
•All Nippon Airways
•Cathay Pacific Airways
•Royal Brunei Airlines
•Thai Airways International