The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) forecasts another profitable year for the region’s airlines, but sees a number of challenges in the way of continued growth.

At its Assembly of Presidents event in Jeju, South Korea, the association listed sustained economic growth and a growing middle class as tailwinds propelling the region’s carriers. Asia-Pacific carriers have met the growth in in the region’s travel industry with modern aircraft, new cabin innovations, and customer service improvements.

It notes that the region's airlines carried 8% more international passengers during the first eight months of 2018, compared with a year earlier, while air cargo grew 4.8%. It warned, however, that this pace is lower than in 2017, owing to trade tensions between major countries. Rising fuel costs and currency fluctuations are also issues, however carriers will enjoy a fourth consecutive year of profits.

"Air transport is widely recognised as a key contributor to economic and social development, built around strong global networks offering both passenger and air cargo services,” says AAPA director general Andrew Herdman.

“The dynamic airline sector epitomises the way in which region's carriers are at the forefront of global air transport industry development. Working together as a community, AAPA is determined to tackle the numerous challenges that face the industry."

Challenges the conference will explore include the “clear need” for better infrastructure through the region. Given the region’s rapidly growing fleet over the next decade, investments are needed in additional runways, terminals, and air traffic management capacity. A key question is how improved infrastructure will be paid for.

Other challenges include training, manpower, trade issues, cybersecurity, taxes, and environmental sustainability.

Source: Cirium Dashboard