IATA: Asian Airports Urged To Take Lessons From Europe, Fast

Changi Airport
Credit: Changi Airport

DOHA, Qatar—Asian airports have the opportunity to avert potential airport chaos seen in Europe, by learning lessons and taking proactive moves. 

Speaking at the IATA annual general meeting Asia-Pacific regional brief, the industry body’s regional VP Philip Goh said as Asian markets open up, some airports such as Australia, Singapore and Thailand are seeing signs of congestion. 

“We are not seeing the level of congestion and staff shortage in Asia yet, but that will change rapidly.” Goh said. “They should be able to see the issues and plan ahead of the curve. It will be sad if we [Asian airports] end up like them, meaning we didn’t learn anything.”  

Goh said Singapore Changi airport is limited in its number of slots so the airport should be able to maintain its service standards. The hub is partially reopening its renovated terminal and reactivating terminal 4 to meet with winter schedule demand. 

Asia-Pacific market traffic, with the exception of China, is currently at 22% of pre-pandemic levels, as measured in RPK. Demand will continue to grow, especially when Japan fully opens its borders to FIT (free independent tourist) passengers. Although stopping short of providing a projected level, Goh said Japan is an important market and plays an important role in airline network and fleet planning. 

IATA continues to call for the removal of all restrictions for vaccinated travelers, removing quarantine and testing for the unvaccinated, and lifting the mask mandate inside the aircraft. Ten states currently still require pre-departure tests and another 12 require on-arrival tests.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.