The November gathering, representing the AAPA’s 49th Assembly of Presidents, took place in Hong Kong, where just over two years earlier the SARS outbreak badly affected the airline sector. SARS was not being discussed this time but the avian flu virus was a topic of much conversation – and the subject of a key resolution passed by member airlines.


The AAPA called on governments, health authorities and media to “act responsibly” during health-related crises. It fears that like SARS, there may be “knee-jerk public policy actions and over-reactions that risk igniting public panic”. These can have “a very high indirect economic and social cost disproportionate to any public health benefit”.

The association of 17 Asia-Pacific airlines also called on governments to provide “appropriate support” to the industry in light of proposals by the insurance market to invoke new aviation insurance exclusions in policy coverage. Among other resolutions, one called on governments not to impose new taxes on the aviation sector while another was for there to be “fair and reasonable user charges” by airports and aeronautical services providers. Yet another called for global distribution system providers to work with airlines to reduce distribution costs.

With high fuel costs also affecting all airlines, another topic of conversation at the annual gathering was boosting fuel efficiency. “Fuel wastage can be further reduced and significant additional efficiencies can be gained if governments, air navigation service providers and airspace users strengthen their collaboration,” the AAPA said.

Cathay Pacific chief executive Philip Chen, who chaired the meeting, says: “Tremendous savings would be made if airlines could operate on more direct routes. Small changes to straighten airways would make a huge difference to save money, fuel and help the environment.” Holding patterns around airports could also be reduced. ■


Source: Airline Business