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High Level Aviation and Tourism Investor Summit to discuss investment opportunities in India and the Middle East

Travel News Asia 3 June 2005

A major Aviation and Tourism Investor Summit for the Indian Subcontinent and Middle East region is to be staged later this month by aviation and tourism advisory firm, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. Executives from industry and government will assemble in Mumbai on 20-21 June 2005 to hear the latest trends, developments, opportunities and challenges in the aviation and tourism sectors in these vibrant regions.

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation will outline the significant new investment opportunities arising in the sector as a result of its USD8.4 billion airport upgrade plan. The first step of this dramatic initiative to modernise India's airport infrastructure is approaching its conclusion as we enter the final stages of the privatisation process for Delhi and Mumbai airports. Private sector participation in the airports system is expected at as many as 30 metro and regional airports around the country.

Rajan Mittal, Joint Managing Director of the Bharti Group, which has formed a consortium with Changi Airport and Malaysia Airports to bid for Delhi and Mumbai airports, will explain why his organisation, with a core business in telecommunications, is attracted by the prospect of investing in the aviation sector. The program will also take a look at the pitfalls that consortia need to keep in mind. David Feldman, Managing Partner of Exambela, will discuss why consortia need to be careful as to how they manage the differing objectives, risk appetites and cultures of each of the parties involved. 

The Summit will also attract key speakers from the Gulf region to present on the airport expansion boom currently underway in the region, where mega-hubs are being constructed in locations - such as Dubai, Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Speakers will include, Jamal Al Hai, Director of Strategy, Dubai Department of Civil Aviation; a senior executive from the Abu Dhabi Department of Civil Aviation, and His Excellency Eng Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairman of Civil Aviation, Ras al Khaimah.

Indian State governments, including Uttaranchal and Chhatisgarh, will be sending high-level delegations to promote investment opportunities for greenfield airports and tourism development in their regions.

Meanwhile, India's two state-owned carriers, Air India and Indian Airlines, are preparing for IPOs in 2006. Other carriers across the region, such as Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines and Gulf Air, are also evaluating similar moves. Dr Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice President, Commercial Airplanes, The Boeing Company, will present his organisations outlook for market growth in the region.

The Centre's Managing Director, Peter Harbison, will speak about the winds of change sweeping international aviation with regard to government ownership of airports and airlines. The trend to privatise is in turn driving corporate restructuring to ensure optimum returns for their shareholders - an issue to be covered by the CEO of the Centre's Consulting, Andrew Miller, who himself was a key architect of the turnaround of Air New Zealand from near bankruptcy to sustainable profitability.

Many countries in the region are experiencing annual traffic growth of 20-30%, as incumbent carriers expand and new start-up airlines enter the market. This is generating a critical demand for funding from both local and foreign investors. 

David Huttner, former Head of Strategy for Virgin Blue Airlines, will talk about his role as part of a team that investigated investment opportunities in India. The low cost airline sector is booming in India with the recent launch of two new airlines, Kingfisher and SpiceJet, with several others planning to take-off later this year.

The dramatic growth in air traffic is in turn driving a requirement for increased tourism infrastructure such as hotels, roads and attractions. Dr Mustfa Lutfi, Minister of Tourism for the Maldives will present on policy initiatives to encourage investors to return to the country following the impact of the tsunami only 6 months ago.

Private sector perspectives on the travel industry will be presented by Frank Tietjen, Deputy Director Corporate Development at TUI, one of the world's largest travel organisations, which recently acquired a 50% shareholding in Indian tour operator, Le Passage.

Meanwhile, the outlook for the hotel sector will be presented by Uttam Dave, President and CEO of the innovative new joint venture between Accor Hotels and Interglobe, which plans to develop at least 25 Ibis branded properties across India.

Mr Peter Harbison, Managing Director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said, "the programme for the Investor Summit will yield fascinating insights into these fast-growing aviation and tourism markets. We are confident the mix of keynote addresses, panel discussions, exhibition and networking sessions planned at this unique Investor Summit, will be highly valuable for delegates in their analysis of business opportunities".

See other recent news regarding: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation

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