AAPA Confronts Barriers to Air Transport
Industry Growth and Profitability
[HD video below]
The economically dynamic and increasingly outward looking nature
of the Asia Pacific region provides good cause for its airlines to
maintain a broadly optimistic outlook on the future of the
However, barriers imposed by governments continue to
threaten short-term profitability and maximum potential in the
Leaders of the Association of Asia Pacific
Airlines (AAPA) member airlines gathered
in Manila earlier this month at the 60th AAPA Assembly of Presidents
to discuss a number of diverse issues, all of which are seen as
serious obstacles to industry development in Asia and around the
On the aviation and the environment, Asia
Pacific carriers have a long established reputation for investing
in new generation aircraft that reduce CO2 emissions and as a
result, have good reason to celebrate the recent signing of the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting
& Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) agreement
that will come into force in 2020.
Key to its success will be
ensuring that governments carry through with full support for the
agreement to achieve global reach and minimise competitive market
distortions. In addition, governments need to specifically commit
to aviation infrastructure investments that keep pace with demand
growth and environmental targets.
AAPA said it remains deeply concerned about safety
oversight in the region, where carriers can sometimes find
themselves subject to restrictions or even banned from operating
to other countries, due to a lack of effective national regulatory
oversight in line with accepted international standards.
result, the association is re-iterating its call on governments to
respect the primacy of ICAO standards and strongly support the 'No
Country Left Behind' campaign which aims to address disparities in
the quality of regulatory oversight amongst different states
through improved implementation and compliance.
In addition, AAPA
remains opposed to the unilateral imposition of extra-territorial
measures and operating restrictions, where airlines can find
themselves being held responsible for the shortcomings of their
national regulatory authorities.
Balancing the needs of passenger facilitation
with security is a key issue where some government measures affect
customer satisfaction and airline operations. Governments need to
fundamentally rethink policies that should aim to strike a more
reasonable balance between passenger facilitation and aviation
security, such that unnecessary inconvenience and delays are
The travelling public continues to be frustrated by a
degraded travel experience as a result of increasingly complex,
intrusive, onerous and inconsistent aviation security procedures.
Advanced identity document technologies, including biometrics and
machine readable travel documents have proved effective to help
streamline passenger and crew processing, whilst strengthening
aviation security. Unfortunately airport checkpoints continue to
focus on high risk objects, but only provide limited capability to
identify high risk travellers.
In addition to resolutions on these critical
issues being adopted at the conclusion of the 60th Assembly of
Presidents in Manila, AAPA is making renewed calls on
governments to avoid the imposition of unjustified taxes, and for
much improved collaboration with the World Health Organisation in
managing the impact of health pandemics, including Zika.
"Governments continue to misjudge the strength
of negative sentiment held by Asian airline leaders about the
unnecessary burden of misguided policies and unjustified taxation.
Officials that continue to turn their back on repeated calls for a
more reasoned approach are not only inflicting financial pain on
Asian carriers that already operate under fiercely competitive
conditions, but are also ultimately undermining their own national
economic development and sustainability," said Mr Andrew Herdman,
AAPA Director General. "Asia Pacific airlines have a unique
opportunity to benefit from the economic and political rise of the
region in the 21st century. To achieve this to its full extent, it
is critical that governments work together with industry by
removing barriers to industry growth and profitability."
Resolutions Adopted at
Conclusion of 60th Assembly of Presidents in Manila
Safety is the aviation industry's first
priority, with national regulatory agencies responsible for the
effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended
AAPA is supportive of the ICAO 'No Country Left
Behind' campaign which aims to address disparities in the quality
of regulatory oversight amongst different states through improved
implementation and compliance.
Some states, including the United
States and the European Union also evaluate the performance of
other national aviation authorities in implementing effective
oversight and compliance with international standards. As a
result, some national regulatory authorities are taking punitive
action against foreign air carriers when audits of their
respective regulatory authorities identify deficiencies in the
quality of regulatory oversight.
AAPA said it does not believe the
proliferation of multiple and overlapping international audits is
the most effective way of achieving improvements in the quality of
regulatory oversight and enhancing aviation safety.
The association has called on governments and their regulatory
agencies to fully implement ICAO SARPs in a timely manner and also
support the ICAO "No Country Left Behind" campaign to raise levels
of regulatory oversight.
The association goes on to re-iterate the
call on governments to respect the primacy of ICAO standards and
guidance, whilst recognising that any additional restrictions
should be based on transparent criteria and strong evidence,
whilst taking into account their potential extra-territorial
AAPA also re-iterates the call on governments to allow
foreign air carriers the opportunity to demonstrate that their
safety systems and performance are in compliance with accepted
international standards before imposing sanctions or restrictions
Air travel remains safe, secure and convenient
for travelling passengers and air cargo.
ICAO is recognised as the
appropriate global organisation for formulating policies on
aviation security, whilst individual states are responsible for
ensuring that adequate and effective security measures are applied
by government agencies, airports and aircraft operators.
Strengthening aviation security remains a shared, global concern
and addressing it effectively requires close cooperation and
coordination between governments and other industry stakeholders.
Governments need to fundamentally rethink their approach to
aviation security, evaluating proposed measures within a proper
framework of estimated costs and benefits to society.
AAPA has re-iterated its call on governments to
develop and implement risk-based, outcome-based aviation security
regimes, which are more effective in matching the needs of the
passenger and the air cargo supply chain.
The association goes
further in calling upon governments to recognise the value of
mutual recognition of respective security regimes to avoid
unnecessary duplication of effort.
Finally, AAPA is urging governments
and industry stakeholders to share data and information in a
timely, transparent and open manner that enables the building of
trust and the development of more cost effective security
Governments meeting at the 39th ICAO Assembly in
September 2016 agreed on a resolution to implement a global market
based measure (GMBM) in the form of the Carbon Offsetting and
Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to address
any annual increase in total CO2 emissions from international
civil aviation from 2020 onwards.
committed to make further progress on aircraft technologies,
operational improvements and sustainable alternative fuels.
aviation industry, coordinated by the Air Transport Action Group
(ATAG), remains committed to ambitious environmental goals, to be
achieved using a combination of technology, operations and
infrastructure improvements, and alternative fuels supplemented by
In the Asia Pacific region, which is already the world's
largest aviation market, airlines have made significant fleet
investments in the latest technology which will offer CO2 emission
AAPA has urged governments to fully support and
participate in ICAO's CORSIA scheme to ensure it is global in
scope, has environmental integrity and avoids competitive market
distortions. The association goes further in urging governments in
Asia to commit the necessary investment in aviation infrastructure
to keep pace with growth in demand to ensure improvements in
operational efficiencies and reduction in environmental impact.
Governments meeting at the ICAO 39th Assembly in
September 2016 agreed to further collaborate to define aviation
security measures that are risk-based, appropriate and
proportionate to the threat, with the implementation of efficient,
operationally viable, economically and operationally sustainable
measures that take into account the impact on passengers and on
Advanced identity document technologies, including
biometrics and machine readable travel documents, and the
mandatory provision of detailed information about passengers in
the form of Advance Passenger Information requirements, have
proved effective to help streamline passenger and crew processing
whilst strengthening aviation security.
Security procedures are
often cited as the least satisfactory aspect of the air travel
experience, with airport checkpoints focusing on high risk objects
and only limited capability to identify high risk travellers.
AAPA has called on governments to promote the use of
available technologies and ensure that sufficient resources are
allocated towards both inbound and outbound passenger and crew
processing, so as to streamline passenger facilitation and enhance
the overall travel experience.
The association goes further in
calling on government agencies to work with all industry
stakeholders, including airlines to maintain a practical balance
between the need for effective security measures and the provision
of efficient passenger facilitation.
Finally, AAPA has called on
governments to recognise the importance of effective
implementation of measures in line with global standards
established by ICAO and the benefits of mutual recognition of
respective aviation security regimes, thereby responding more
effectively to the needs of the passenger public.
Taxes and Charges
Airlines and the travelling public currently
bear the burden of numerous taxes and charges imposed by
governments, as well as monopolistic service providers and other
Despite past exhortations, taxes on international air
transport and charges on passengers continue to proliferate,
several of which are clearly in contravention of ICAO policies on
A number of airports and air navigation service
providers (ANSPs) around the world have increased or are planning
to increase user charges without proper consultation with
stakeholders. In addition, a number of governments have recently
introduced or increased taxes on air travel including Australia's
Passenger Movement Charge and the UK Air Passenger Duty. The
travelling public is often unaware of the variety and magnitude of
such taxes or charges, especially when collected together with
AAPA has renewed the call on governments to carefully
consider the overall economic effects of putting further financial
strain on the travelling public and the aviation industry and to
refrain from increasing the tax burden in any form.
association has also called on governments to adhere to ICAO policies on
taxation and to avoid imposing unjustified or discriminatory taxes
on international aviation.
AAPA has also urged airport
authorities and ANSPs to adopt transparent, fair and
non-discriminatory charges in accordance with ICAO principles.
Health-related crises can have significant
economic and social effects on all sectors of a country's economy,
particularly travel-related industries including airlines,
airports, hotels, restaurants, retailers, travel agencies and
Past outbreaks of various viruses have demonstrated
the need to manage both the direct and indirect consequences of a
In response to recent virus outbreaks, the World
Health Organisation (WHO) issued a strategic response plan which
focused on preventing and managing medical complications caused by
the Zika virus infection. Contrary to established global
procedures, some countries require aircraft operators to put in
place various measures with limited or no demonstrable public
AAPA has called on governments and health authorities
to collaborate and coordinate with WHO and other governments in
managing the potential impact of health pandemics by focusing
collective efforts and resources on fighting the spread of
diseases at source and by properly informing and educating the
travelling public. The association has additionally called on
governments and health authorities to avoid imposing measures on
airlines that unnecessarily disrupt normal operations in ways that
would have disproportionate impacts compared to the actual risk
Closing Press Conference from AAPA's 60th Assembly of Presidents 2016