Asia Pacific aviation is entering “unknown territory”, with a new industry structure potentially better positioned to cope with an economic downturn, according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison.
“We are entering a tunnel – economically – and we don’t know how long or how deep it will go”, said Harbison, who added that this is the first time that the Asia Pacific region will have faced these conditions with a full armoury of low cost/low fare airline options.
“A decade ago, in the Asian Financial Crisis, the outcome was simple: people stopped flying and airlines lost money. This time around, things could be very different. We have a new aviation environment – with new, private airlines, mostly well-positioned to survive in difficult conditions”.
Harbison stated that network airlines have also restructured effectively to allow them to be competitive when times get tough.
“But the critical ingredient for navigating this new territory will be continued liberalisation. A liberalised international marketplace is essential to the interests of airlines, consumers, governments – and the economy itself.” Harbison urged governments that this is not the time to turn back the clock, “but instead to lay the foundations for a much expanded aviation network throughout the region. It is a great opportunity – it must be taken.”
LCCs are expected to grow their seat capacity by over 250% over the next five years, according to the Centre’s research. The region’s LCC fleet is expected to rise from approximately 300 aircraft to close to 900 by the end of 2012 (based on current known orders). The trebling of this fleet will provide an unprecedented period of international route development in the region.
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