Sunday, May 8, 2011

EXCLUSIVE! AAPA in talks with Indian carriers

Neelam Mathews
Time: 10:35pm IST
May 8, 2011

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines is looking at the possibility of widening its present membership base to include India, Andrew Herdman, Director General told Aerospace Diary.

Presently, its membership is open to scheduled international airlines based within the time zones between GMT+7 and GMT+12. This does not envelop India and its carriers.

While Indian carriers are presently focused mainly on domestic issues through the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), Herdman says with more carriers flying abroad, many issues will be common. “We do invite many Indian carriers to our events,” he adds.

AAPA is run as a non-profit association, fully funded through annual membership subscriptions, based on an agreed formula which reflects the relative sizes of member airlines in terms of their regional traffic volumes. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, it is the trade association of major scheduled international airlines based in the Asia-Pacific region. Collectively, the 17 AAPA member airlines carry 285 million passengers and 10 million tons of cargo representing approximately one-fifth of global passenger traffic and one-third of global air cargo traffic respectively.

While traffic is growing the fastest in Asia Pacific, “in commercial terms it is not Asia Pacific driving regulatory growth,” Herdman said candidly referring to European and U.S regulators role in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Herdman has been known to never hold back his candid thoughts. “Our view is that Europe has over-reached…..Taxes are damaging. We need more clarity on sensible environment policies…It has been a failure of political leadership of governments around the world that have reached no consensus…..The ICAO process has been held back because of similar governments (involved in the decision) …..There has been a failure to coordinate and reach decisive action….there is too much regulation…”

AAPA says it seeks to promote market-based options (MBOs) such as new/improved technology and enhancements to infrastructure and procedure as an alternative to options such as emissions trading, charges or any other form of financial disincentive. Notwithstanding, consideration of MBOs should be based on sound practical judgement recognising the principles of equity and flexibility through proper cost benefit analysis.

“Airlines alone cannot be made to bear the burden on what is considered a systemic responsibility to address emissions,” is the AAPA stand.

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