Top News Asia-Pacific airline chiefs double down on efforts to address regulatory challenges By TTG Asia / Posted on 14 November, 2022 10:52 Airline leaders at the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) 66th Assembly of Presidents in Bangkok, Thailand last week agreed to resolutions that seek to address regulatory challenges relating to passenger facilitation, safety and sustainability. Noting the proliferation of onerous regulations imposed on the air transport industry during the pandemic, AAPA airline chiefs stressed the critical importance of governments adopting a more coordinated approach to ensure the speedy recovery of the sector in the coming months. Members of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines agree to address regulatory challenges relating to passenger facilitation, safety and sustainability following their assembly in Bangkok last week “AAPA carriers have shown great resilience in confronting the challenges brought about by the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, while maintaining the highest safety standards,” said Subhas Menon, AAPA director general. “However, the lack of coordination of travel requirements across borders, and the burden of restrictive government regulations, hold back the sustainable recovery and growth of Asia’s carriers, as well as their ability to fully contribute to the social and economic development of the region.” While many governments introduced digital apps to process contactless pre-travel verification of health status, many of these apps were neither interoperable with each other, nor enabled for other purposes, such as for immigration clearance or check-in, resulting in confusion for travellers. AAPA calls on governments and border control agencies to work together in the adoption of interoperable digital applications for air travel, in accordance with ICAO guidance, so as to reduce unnecessary pre-departure congestion, delays and inconvenience to the travelling public. It also urges the use of existing passenger data exchange systems to provide integrated pre-travel verification responses to aircraft operators related to immigration, security and public health requirements, while fully respecting passenger privacy rights. Another area of serious concern for AAPA airline members are unilateral regulations introduced by national/regional aviation regulators, failing to take into account the international nature of airline operations. In the current instance, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) now requires that all commercial aircraft be retrofitted with new or modified radio altimeters by July 2023 to maintain their operations to the US, in order for telecommunications companies to power up their 5G networks to the full capacity authorised by the Federal Communications Commission, even as the full effects of 5G on aircraft operations are being studied. Unresolved spectrum issues relating to aeronautical safety services have resulted in flight cancellations, degradations of air traffic management services, and interruptions of flight operation. A comprehensive frequency spectrum strategy in line with ICAO Standards and Recommended Principles is required to support timely availability and protection of adequate spectrum for civil aviation. AAPA believes that introducing regulations to meet specific regional or sectoral goals that are counterproductive to aviation safety and recovery, is not in keeping with ICAO’s “no country left behind” principle. AAPA calls on governments, aviation regulators, safety agencies and other stakeholders to support the ICAO frequency spectrum strategy. AAPA also calls on governments to consult with aviation safety regulators, subject matter experts and airspace users, to provide all necessary considerations and to establish regulatory measures to ensure that incumbent aviation systems and services are free from harmful interference. AAPA member carriers are fully committed to achieving the ambitious industry target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Achieving sustainable objectives require global government support and incentives to ensure that sufficient investment is made by all stakeholders, including fuel suppliers, in infrastructure and frameworks that will provide sufficient quantities of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at affordable cost to meet the long term needs of the airline industry. AAPA calls on governments to work with relevant stakeholders such as fuel suppliers to accelerate the fuel research, certification and development as well as processing technology and feedstock production, and the certification of new aircraft and engines to allow the scaling-up of SAF in sufficient quantities at competitive cost to meet the long term needs of the industry. The association also renews the call on governments to participate in ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme, to respect the scope and the integrity of CORSIA, and refrain from applying duplicative requirements on international aviation carbon emissions.