Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila lacking airport capacity, warns IATA

February 6, 2018

SINGAPORE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling for urgent attention to address infrastructure challenges to secure the industry’s future, with IATA President Alexandre de Juniac highlighting lack of airport capacity in Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila as his top concerns in the Asia-Pacific region.

In his keynote address to the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit (SAALS), de Juniac said that, in many key places, infrastructure was not being built fast enough to meet growing demand.

“And there are worrying trends which are increasing costs,” he said. “One of these is airport privatisations. We have not found the correct regulatory framework to balance the interests of the investors, to turn a profit, with the public interest for the airport to be a catalyst for economic growth.

“All the optimism supporting strong aircraft orders will mean nothing if we don’t have the capability to manage traffic in the air and at airports.

"At the other end of the spectrum, we have Seoul’s Incheon Airport. They recently added runway and terminal capacity without raising charges for airlines and passengers. And, Incheon has extended an airport charges discount introduced two years ago.

“This sets a very positive example for other airports to follow. It also demonstrates great understanding of the role aviation plays in linking the Korean economy to economic opportunities globally."  

De Juniac said the Singapore Government was also showing great foresight with its expansion plans for Changi Airport, including Terminal 5 (T5). “But there are challenges,” he added.

“We must ensure the plans for T5 are robust enough to meet the high standards of airline operations and passenger convenience users of Changi Airport have come to expect. And we need to get the funding model right to avoid burdening the industry with extra costs.

“The prize to keep in sight is the airport’s contribution to Singapore’s overall economy.

“There have been reports on plans to introduce a tax on passengers and increases in charges to fund construction of Terminal 5. The airline industry does not support pre-funding to finance in advance infrastructure projects.”

De Juniac said that, by 2036 7.8 billion people globally were expected to travel (up from 4.3 billion expected in 2018).

“Of the 3.5 billion trips to, from or within the Asia-Pacific region in 2036, 1.5 billion will touch on China. As early as 2022 China will be the largest single aviation market.

“India is another emerging power-house—even if it will take longer to mature. And nearly equal potential could be realised as the Indian aviation market continues to develop.” www.iata.org (ATI).