Open Up

SINGAPORE, Nov 9, 2006 (AFP) – Asia should further liberalise its airline industry to unleash the region’s full growth prospects or risk losing billions in unrealised potential, industry experts said Thursday. “Often they are liberalisation’s biggest winners,” said Herdman. “We must ensure that the regulatory framework keeps pace with industry needs.” “We need one more revolution and that’s from the government … liberalisaton,” said Peter Harbison, executive chairman of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

The airline industry has enjoyed unprecedented growth in recent years, weathering the shocks from skyrocketing oil prices and avian flu outbreaks in parts of Asia, thanks largely to booming economies in India and China, industry players said at the regional Aviation Outlook Summit.

But they said Asia must now face the reality that further opening up — for example by reducing restrictions on which carriers can fly certain routes — is needed for continued growth.

“I think the greatest challenge that we face is to make enough money,” said Brian Pearce, chief economist at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which groups 260 airline companies.

“Asia has been