Nick Careen IATA Senior Vice president for airports passenger and cargo security , speaks in Seoul last week
Industry Travel

Do not privatize airport infrastructure, IATA urges governments

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to urgently address the infrastructure challenges airlines face to secure the industry’s future.

Nick Careen IATA Senior Vice president for airports passenger and cargo security said governments especially in Africa must not rush to privatize airport infrastructure despite the worrying infrastructure gaps which are increasing operational costs and thus affecting the profitability of the sector.

According to IATA, privatization of airport infrastructure would “eat into” the sector’s profitability.

“States ought to know that operating  efficiencies are not much better for privatized airports – contrary to the  expectation of  introducing private sector  practices,” Careen said adding that most governments have  focused on short  term financial gains  from airport sales  and concessions  without  necessary   looking at  the quality of services to be provided.

Global aviation experts meet in South Korea

Meanwhile, leaders of the global air transport industry last week gathered in Seoul, Republic of Korea, for the 75th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS).

Hosted by Korean Air and held for the first time in the Republic of Korea, the event is expected to attract more than a thousand top leaders from among IATA’s 290 member airlines, their suppliers, governments, strategic partners, international organizations and the media.

“Over the next few days, Seoul will be transformed into the global capital of air transport as aviation leaders from around the world gather for the 75th IATA AGM and WATS.

The airlines will be meeting in challenging times. 2019 is expected to be the 10th consecutive year of airline profits, but rising costs, trade wars and other uncertainties are likely to have an impact on the bottom line. The prolonged grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft is taking its toll. And aviation, like all industries, is under intensified scrutiny for its impact on climate change.

The agenda will be full,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO.

The AGM agenda will feature keynote addresses by Kim Hyun-mee, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea and Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport.

Establishing right funding model

Meanwhile, aviation experts have called for the “right funding model” to avoid burdening the industry with extra costs.

“Ensuring sufficient and cost-efficient infrastructure should remain the industry’s top priority going forward,” said Bekele Kaleyesus, a senior aviation and air transport analyst at AIN Limited.

Last year, the African Union launched the much-anticipated single African air transport market (SAATM), which is expected to boost air transport business across the continent when it is fully implemented by all African Union member countries.

By Peterson Tumwebaze