At the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit, Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, commented on the air travel industry’s looming “infrastructure crisis.”
“All the great plane deals that will be done at this air show will mean nothing if we don’t have the capability to manage the traffic in the air and the airports at each end of the journey,” says de Juniac. “Infrastructure is vital to our industry’s future.”
De Juniac asserts that the requirements airlines put on airports are not complicated: Airports need “sufficient capacity to accommodate demand,” airports must meet the technical and commercial quality needs of airlines, and overall, infrastructure enhancements must be affordable.
“I believe, however, that we are headed for a crisis,” says de Juniac. “First, infrastructure in general is not being built fast enough to meet growing demand. And there are worrying trends which are increasing costs. One of these is airport privatization. We are yet to see an airport privatization that has, in the long term, delivered on the promised benefits. That is because we have not found the correct regulatory framework. It must carefully balance the interests of the investors to turn a profit with the public interest for the airport to be a catalyst for economic growth.”
IATA members have become frustrated with “the current state of privatized airports.” De Juniac recommends that airports continue partnering with the private sector, but he says that IATA’s view is that “the ownership is best left in public hands.”