IATA is urging Asian airlines to play more of a leadership role in shaping global aviation developments given their rapid growth in recent years. IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani made the call when giving a speech in Singapore recently, saying that "critical mass comes with leadership responsibilities".

"Asia is a big part of the aviation world," he added. "By 2010, intra-Asia traffic will be the largest market in the world, accounting for one-third of the world's traffic."

Bisignani says specific areas where Asian carriers should take leading roles include technology, policy and the environment. According to Association of Asia Pacific Airlines director general Andrew Herdman: "Asia Pacific airlines take their environmental responsibilities very seriously, and we are committed to playing an active role in developing policies addressing these important issues, strongly favouring global solutions endorsed by ICAO rather than fragmented regional and national schemes."

"Asia's growing importance is clearly defining a new leadership role in all aspects of the industry," said Bisignani. "Asia must develop a leadership framework to drive a common regional approach with innovation on all fronts, from the technical issues to fundamental policies." He stressed the need for the region to "think bigger and faster" on liberalisation in contrast to the US and Europe. "They have lost the vision that made them natural industry leaders," he said.

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Source: Airline Business