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Asia Pacific Aviation – New Partnerships

Posted 01/04/2009 - Viewed 2393 time(s)

Hyderabad, India, 31 March 2009

Optimism and determination to find a common path out of the recession was evident at the 7th Routes Asia (29th-31st March) in Hyderabad, India, where air service development professionals from the Asia Pacific region congregated to lay the groundwork for the next upturn. Despite the current economic climate – or rather because of the difficult times challenging the aviation industry – attendance was high. Hosted by GMR Hyderbad International Airport, the event attracted 70 airlines and up to 60 airports, including Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Cairns International Airport and Bangalore International Airport. 

“It is in times such as these that it is vital that airports and airlines communicate,” says Mike Howarth, Founder & Chairman of Routes. “This is possibly the first true economic recession that many airline and airport managers have had to navigate their way through. Experience, flexibility and the exchange of market intelligence are the characteristics that will assist both parties through the recession. That’s why it was the best time to hold the event.”

According to IATA passenger demand fell globally by 5.6% in January. However, what is clearly demonstrated is the internationalisation of the aviation business, with the Asia Pacific region faring far worse than other regional markets. Asia Pacific traffic fell by 8.7% in January, a steeper fall than any other region. Despite its size, dynamism and recent growth rates, these factors have not insulated Asia from the globalisation of the downturn. Asian routes have a relatively high 73.8% load factor, some of the highest in the world, but this figure is distorted by the advent of Chinese New Year in January. 

Howarth comments: “Now is the ideal time for airports to assess their business, identify those businesses they wish to participate in and exit loss-making activities.  One can be certain that the airline industry is undertaking exactly the same exercise. This could present some airports with a few shocks when the less bad times return.”

Over the past year the range of delegates attending Routes Asia has broadened – due to the fact that more stake holders and tourist authorities are now wanting to be involved in the air service development process.  This has very much enhanced the quality of the event. The Government of India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Tourism and Incredible India were active participants in the forum, recognising the importance of the interdependence between the different industry branches.

This relationship was especially mirrored in the co-located Leaders Forum, where high-level panellists expressed frank opinions and discussed the impact of the global economic downturn, strategies for survival and the urgency for more collaborative ventures.

“Route development is a chain with many links such as airlines, airports and government,” explains Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice President International Affairs, Etihad Airways, and panellist at the Leaders Forum. “This chain will never be stronger than its weakest link and therefore there is a great need to engage. The Leaders Forum is intellectually very rewarding, as people can express their views, receive new ideas and plant seeds for future growth. In this current crisis we need to think out of the box and the forum has been a priceless opportunity – a great door opener.”

The 8th Routes Asia in 2010 will be held in Adelaide, Australia. World Routes will take place in Beijing on 13th-15th September 2009.

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