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AAPA voices concerns over rising trade tensions and lack of infrastructure

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has voiced concerns over rising tensions that are being waged between major trading nations like China and the USA.

Asia Pacific airline leaders made their feelings known when they gathered at AAPA’s 62nd Assembly of Presidents in Jeju, Korea this week where it also said international air cargo demand increased by 4.8 per cent, although growth rates have moderated following the surge in 2017,

AAPA said with Asian airlines carrying more than one third of global air freight volumes, concerns over ongoing trade tensions are being closely monitored given the potential negative impact on trade flows and global supply chains.

The association also said with rising fuel costs and currency fluctuations are putting margins under pressure, although overall, Asia Pacific airlines are expected to deliver substantial profits for the fourth year in succession

AAPA also said a key area of concern is infrastructure with the “clear need” for investments in new air transport infrastructure in the form of additional runways, terminals and air traffic management capacity commensurate with traffic growth and the expected deliveries of new aircraft to the region over the next 10 years.

It added: “There is an ongoing debate on how such infrastructure should be funded, and the need for more effective cooperation between airlines, airports and governments. The Assembly is also expected to address the associated issue of manpower development and future training needs.”

AAPA said safety remains the top priority for Asia Pacific airline leaders which requires a “constant state of vigilance at all operational levels”, together with continued close cooperation between airlines, regulators and other stakeholders in setting standards and delivering further safety improvements.

Other priority areas and issues identified were cybersecurity, environmental sustainability, taxes and charges, and passenger facilitation issues.

AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman said: “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.

“We are delighted to be meeting here in Korea, the world’s eleventh largest economy, as well as a popular tourist destination. 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.”