SINGAPORE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today urged some countries in Southeast Asia (SEA) to improve their airport and air trafic control (ATC) infrastructure given the expected strong growth of air travel in the region.
Mentioning specifically Indonesia and the Philippines, IATA Chief Executive Officer and Director-General Alexandre de Juniac said their airport capacity needs to be increased while their ATC needs to be rationalised.
“They have to improve dramatically. It is our (IATA) job to push (them to improve),” he said at a press conference held in conjunction with the IATA World Financial Symposium here today.
de Juniac, who assumed IATA’s top post three weeks ago, said: “The economic growth of the region itself is strong. The infrastructure needs to improve in line with the growth.”
IATA’s latest numbers show that Asia-Pacific airlines’ July traffic rose 9.8 per cent compared to the year-ago period.
Capacity increased 8.6 per cent and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 81.7 per cent.
International traffic within Asia rose 8.1 per cent, a four-month high.
IATA represents some 265 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic.
Meanwhile, in his keynote address at the Symposium, de Juniac called for speed and innovation to enable aviation to continue to deliver its vast social and economic benefits.
“Aviation is the business of freedom. We make global mobility ubiquitous,” he said.
de Juniac said that for 63 million people, aviation provides the freedom to earn their livelihoods.
“For 3.8 billion travellers, aviation includes the freedom to explore the world, build understanding, develop businesses, make friendships, visit relatives or make their lives better.
“Speed and innovation will secure our future so that we can continue to deliver these benefits,” he said.
de Juniac noted that the airline industry is forecast to deliver a collective net profit of US$39.4 billion (US$=RM4.11) this year, which would be a record.
“We are having a very good year. I am not predicting an end to the good times, but it would be unrealistic to expect them to last forever.”
He pointed out that profitability is not evenly spread, with significant variations among regions.
Among potential risks de Juniac identified are a sudden rise in oil prices; an increase in terrorism aimed at aviation and air travel; a sharp economic downturn and a retreat from the principles of free trade by one or more major economies.
“Uncertainty is ahead of us. I am a big believer in speed and innovation. We cannot know the future, but we need to be prepared to react quickly when the environment changes.
“That’s not easy for any business – and it is a real struggle for process-driven industries like air transport,” said de Juniac. – BERNAMA