IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac has called on Asian governments to invest further in aeronautical infrastructure, harmonise regulation and join in the industry’s efforts to improve its sustainability.
“The 34 million jobs and $700 billion of economic activity supported by aviation across the Asia-Pacific region are expected to more than double in the next 20 years,” he told attendees at the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Assembly of Presidents in Taipei. “But the realisation of these economic benefits is at risk if the region does not address the big long-term challenges of sustainability, infrastructure and regulatory harmonization.”
He warned that an “infrastructure crisis” was looming in the region, with airports in Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta requiring major upgrades, Chinese air traffic management struggling to manage strong growth, and high costs at India’s privatised airports.
De Juniac also warned against further using private capital and control to plug those infrastructure gaps, as the shareholder returns required of private investors could lead to cost increases, while regulation of airport charges “has yet to produce any long-term success stories in balancing national and private interests.”
He also called for greater co-operation between countries on regulation and implementing global standards on consumer protection, accident investigation and security measures.
“The goal is to improve efficiency with seamless operations across the region. And to do that governments must focus on harmonization and work together in partnership with industry,” says de Juniac.
Lastly, he called on governments in the region to work with industry on emissions reduction efforts through the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and sustainable aviation fuel initiatives.
Under CORSIA, airlines will start to report their emissions in just over 14 months, and IATA is urging all airlines to have their teams and processes ready, while also appealing to governments in Asia Pacific to join the voluntary period from 2021 to 2026.