Saturday, January 9, 2010

Asia/Pacific Carrier Group Taps China And Budget Carriers

Asia/Pacific Carrier Group Taps China And Budget Carriers
Aviation Daily Jan 11 , 2010 , p. 13
Neelam Mathews

With Qantas canceling its 40-year membership in the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), the organization is now looking to add Chinese carriers and budget airlines in the region.

While AAPA confirmed the above, it did not comment on The DAILY’s query on which carriers had been approached.

Sydney-based think tank Center for Asia Pacific Association (CAPA) said on its Web site that Qantas now plans to develop relationships with other carriers directly, rather than through AAPA, adding that its interests now extend beyond those of the association.

“China certainly meets the criteria, and we feel there is a strong role on the international stage for a regional association,” Andrew Herdman, director general, told The DAILY at the Asian Aerospace conference in Hong Kong (DAILY, Sept. 10, 2009).

Taiwan is a member of AAPA, but Herdman ruled it out as an issue. The average level of interaction is harmonious. In political terms, Taiwan may have ups and downs, but with the recent cross-straits collaboration, the potential for [the] outbound Chinese market to Taiwan is enormous. I do not see any negative impact on Hong Kong and Macau...either.”

China reportedly is willing to pay the cost of the association, said Herdman. “It is not simply a matter of joining; it is national policy. The Civil Aviation Administration of China has said it is keen to associate with a regional and international association. Chinese airlines have joined IATA...Issues are the same — policy issues, U.S. regulations, technical and non-technical,” he added.

AAPA covers the geographical area from GMT+7 to GMT12, encompassing China but not the Indian subcontinent. Herdman added, “We wouldn’t rule India out, though. The argument is the domestic focus. However, the numbers are changing, though we would need to change our geographic scope.

“All airlines are under severe pressure given the impact of the global economic downturn. Nevertheless, the benefits of cooperation and working together on key industry policy issues have never been more evident..AAPA will continue to work on behalf of all members of the Asia Pacific aviation community,” said Herdman in a statement putting an end to speculation that AAPA’s future is in doubt.

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