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Mon, 22 Oct 2018

AAPA Charts Priorities for Future Aviation Development; Passes Resolutions

[HD videos below] Despite numerous challenges that threaten future profitability and sustainability, airlines in Asia Pacific continue to play a key role in leading the growth of the global air transport industry.

The AAPA 62nd Assembly of Presidents held in Jeju, Korea last week strengthened the resolve of its airline leaders to maintain pressure in resolving current regulatory issues relating to safety, environment, infrastructure and passenger rights, whilst recognising the need to address other challenges including future manpower development and efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. These topics have all been covered in a series of resolutions passed by the AAPA Assembly of Presidents on Friday.

The KAL Hotel in Jeju, South Korea hosted the AAPA 62nd Assembly of Presidents on 18-19 October 2018. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Overall safety performance in the Asia Pacific region has continued to improve, and AAPA remains vigilant on the need for effective safety oversight in the region. AAPA sees further opportunities to enhance aviation safety performance, through the formation of regional and national safety teams, working within a "Just Culture" framework built on mutual trust between regulators and industry.

The agreement on the Carbon Offsetting & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was reached at the 39th ICAO Assembly in 2016 and is now approaching a critical stage in the implementation process, with full emissions reporting by carriers commencing in January 2019. The airline industry is demonstrating full commitment to the CORSIA process, but AAPA is concerned that some governments are imposing variations or additional requirements, which could undermine the integrity and environmental effectiveness of the scheme.

The prospect of continuing strong passenger traffic and airline fleet growth over the next 20 years dictates the need for commensurate expansion of both airport and air traffic management infrastructure to avoid increasing congestion and flight delays in the future. The capital intensive nature of infrastructure investments raises important questions about planning and financing, and the necessity for appropriate regulatory oversight by governments. AAPA has said it is concerned about the effect on user charges, and is arguing for a more coherent debate on how such infrastructure is best funded and regulated in the future.

AAPA also highlighted new challenges in the area of passenger rights, where many governments have introduced aviation-specific consumer protection regimes. These actions are often uncoordinated and sometimes inconsistent with existing international treaties, which results in confusion for consumers and operational difficulties for airlines. Of particular concern are instances of mass disruption as a result of extreme weather events or other natural disasters, where the focus should be on wider service recovery efforts.

Korean Air Airbus A220-300 (Bombardier CS300) in the foreground with a Korean Air Airbus A330 taking off from Gimpo International Airport in Seoul, South Korea in the background. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

The substantial growth in demand for air travel is also creating challenges in recruiting the required numbers of aviation professionals including pilots and maintenance personnel. AAPA sees the need for governments and industry stakeholders to work together to promote manpower training and development including support for ICAO's Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) programme.

Some of the world's most endangered wildlife species are threatened by criminal groups seeking to profit from trafficking wildlife and wildlife products around the world. Airlines have a role to play in helping to address this issue through closer collaboration with governments, law enforcement agencies, airports and freight forwarders.

"Asia Pacific carriers lead the development of the global air transport industry, but the long term profitability and sustainability of the industry risks being undermined by inappropriate government legislation and short-term policy thinking," said Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General. "More so in Asia than anywhere else, the air transport industry is a key driver for business, economic and social development. In this respect, the Association will work energetically to challenge constraints that could restrict the aviation sector from reaching its full potential."

RESOLUTIONS - AAPA 62nd Assembly of Presidents in Jeju, South Korea

Aviation Safety

Governments and air transport industry players working in partnership have made commercial aviation one of the safest forms of travel and are responsible for maintaining the highest levels of safety and security for the travelling public. To improve the industry's already impressive safety record requires focus, commitment and cooperation by all stakeholders.

Aviation safety performance can be further enhanced through the effective implementation of ICAO Annex 19 "Safety Management". AAPA has urged governments and industry to establish regional and national safety teams, supporting voluntary reporting of safety incidents and eventson the basis of mutual trust in line with "Just Culture" principles.

Aviation and Environment

Air transport is the first industry sector to commit to CO2 emissions reductions through the use of a global market-based measure.

AAPA has stressed that governments and operators must work together to ensure the effective implementation of CORSIA and refrain from imposing duplicate requirements on international aviation CO2 emissions. In addition, the Association urges the ICAO Council to finalise its guidance on the CORSIA Emissions Unit Criteria to enable operators to have broad access to recognised carbon offsets.

Airport Infrastructure

Aircraft at Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea on 20 October 2018. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

The provision of cost effective and efficient airport infrastructure is critical in order to meet the projected growth in passenger and cargo traffic demand. Governments play a key role in coordinating aviation infrastructure planning, and balancing the respective interests of airports and aircraft operators. The regulatory framework for the economic oversight of airports must also take into account different ownership structures and operational arrangements of airports.

AAPA has called on governments to ensure that regulatory frameworks on airport infrastructure investment are fit for purpose and properly balance the interests of airlines, passengers and airport operators, and to adhere to the principles of non-discrimination and transparency of user charges in line with ICAO guidance.

Passenger Rights

The air transport industry is extremely complex with multiple stakeholders including governments, regulatory agencies, airlines, infrastructure operators and other service providers working closely together to ensure that the system runs smoothly. Many governments have introduced or are proposing to introduce aviation-specific consumer protection regimes. These actions are often uncoordinated and sometimes inconsistent with existing international treaties, which results in confusion for consumers and operational difficulties for airlines. The Association urges governments to ensure that mandated regulations related to consumer protection are designed from the outset to be non-prescriptive, practical, and cost-effective.

During periods of mass disruption, the focus should be on wider recovery efforts to restore services to the travelling public. AAPA has said that governments need to recognise the key roles of multiple stakeholders including regulatory agencies, airports, airlines, ground handlers and other service providers in jointly developing appropriate contingency plans for system recovery following major disruptions.

Aviation Manpower

ICAO has forecast that the aviation sector will require large numbers of qualified aviation professionals over the next twenty years including 620,000 pilots, 1.3 million aircraft maintenance personnel and 125,000 air traffic controllers.

AAPA is encouraging governments to support ICAO's NGAP initiative by partnering with the aviation industry to invest in education and training of future aviation professionals. The Association has also called on governments and other aviation stakeholders to promote best practices in human resource development including a renewed commitment towards the further diversification of the workforce and gender equality.

Wildlife Trafficking

Illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products increasingly threatens the survival of endangered species, with criminal groups exploiting the connectivity of the air transport industry through the trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products around the world. Airlines recognise that they have a role to play in helping to address the problem of illegal wildlife trafficking, through close collaboration with governments, law enforcement agencies, airports and freight forwarders.

Governments and law enforcement agencies are being urged by AAPA to commit additional resources to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, with the support of the air transport industry in raising awareness and monitoring efforts. AAPA also encourages airlines to support the principles outlined in the Buckingham Palace Declaration of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.

Closing Press Conference from AAPA 62d Assembly of Presidents in Jeju, South Korea

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