AAPA urges less taxes, more unity

THE Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has stepped up calls on Asian governments to scrap “ill-conceived regulations and taxes” that hinder the growth and development of the aviation industry.

At the recently concluded AAPA 57th Assembly of Presidents assembly in Hong Kong, AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman, said: “Governments around the world appear to have been blind to the fact that airlines have been fighting for survival over the past five years, with post-recessionary market conditions still making it very tough to earn a decent return on investment.

“Indeed, by treating aviation as a cash cow, some governments appear to ignore the financial damage being inflicted on both airlines and their own economies.”

Thailand’s plans to impose visitor arrival taxes to fund health insurance costs for tourists was particularly singled out by Herdman as a “poorly conceived idea”.

While lauding ICAO’s leadership in developing a global market-based measure to address aircraft emissions from 2020 as a “remarkable achievement” (TTG Asia e-Daily, October 7, 2013), Herdman lambasted the European Commission’s recent proposal to expand the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to international airlines.

“AAPA is absolutely convinced that the interests of Asia-Pacific carriers and the industry as a whole are best served by supporting a global solution, not a patchwork of national or regional schemes that will only distort the market,” he commented.

Moreover, the lack of a common regional aviation regulator has at times held Asia back from having a larger voice at the global policymaking table, especially as the US and EU still exert a very strong influence, said Herdman. “If Asia wishes to play a bigger part in global discussions, it must be prepared to speak with one single voice,” he added.

Hong Kong secretary for transport and housing, Anthony Cheung, agreed that unity would aid the further development of the airline industry, echoing a call from Dragonair’s chairman John Slosar for AAPA to “be that voice for Asia”.

AAPA also urged governments to tackle inefficiency in other areas including environmental policy, passenger facilitation and infrastructure planning (TTG Asia e-Daily, November 15, 2013).

Sponsored Post