The topic of liberalisation - and the need to effect more of it - stayed front and centre during the second panel discussion of the Outlook Summit. Stakeholders from all parts of the industry reiterated the need for the region’s governments to remove the shackles holding back the industry from its potential - and even natural - level of growth.
Stanley Hui, CEO of Airport Authority Hong Kong and former chief of Dragonair, noted that more generously granted access to rights always stimulates more traffic, which in turn is always good for the economies on both ends of a new route. Noting that deregulation is something that “benefits airlines, passengers and the community at large”, Mr Hui illustrated how Hong Kong’s recently enlarged air service agreement with Mainland China has seen traffic between the two double in a short period of time.
IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Asia Pacific and former Silk Air CEO, Mike Barclay, also spoke on the benefits of a more open aviation system. Saying that the idea that flag carriers instinctively oppose liberalisation is a misconception, Mr Barclay allowed that deregulation would create losers as well as winners, but that the overall industry would be healthier because of it.
Pointedly remarking that flag carriers generate from new route opportunities just as much as the LCC market participants, Mr Barclay furthermore stated that ASEAN’s gradual moves towards a more open air service environment were “a step in the right direction, but fall well short of what’s needed.”
Also addressing the assembled aviation leaders was Waleed Youssef, Head of Strategy and Development at Abu Dhabi Airports Company, who discussed the pro-liberalisation views that currently mark a growing number of the Middle East states and the need for that mindset to
spread throughout the region.
Aviation Outlook Summit 2008 is the fourth meeting of the Centre’s annual review of the Asia Pacific and Middle East airline industry and its future prospects. This year’s gathering is focused on the need for Asian industry participants to play a leadership role in the events that continue to shape the global aviation sector, especially as the region begins to generate the largest share of world traffic.
Aviation leaders from all segments of the industry have assembled in Singapore to discuss and debate how the regional sector can proactively assert itself in such vital fields as the environment, liberalisation and the necessary evolution of the aviation business model, for both full-service and low cost airlines.
The event’s organiser, the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, is the region’s leading independent air transport research and analysis group. With offices in New Delhi, Singapore, Geneva, Vancouver and the UK, the Centre is the consensus authority on matters related to all elements of Asia Pacific airlines and airports.