Singapore: Airports in Asia are operating at close to full capacity and urgent investment is needed for upgrading infrastructure, an industry consultancy said on 18 March.
The problem is acute in the fast-growing markets of India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam, which are driving the region’s booming air travel demand, the Sydney-based centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said.
“The problems are not confined to infrastructure at airports. Urgent attention is needed to relieve air traffic congestion in traffic hotspots, including the Pearl Delta and Yangtze River delta regions in China,” it said.
According to the consultancy’s executive chairman Peter Harbison, the region’s airports run the risk of undermining competitiveness if steps are not taken to address the issue.
“Strong predicted traffic growth will exacerbate capacity shortages at many Asia Pacific airports in the years ahead and a determined approach to develop fresh capacity is vital,” said Harbison.
“The capacity shortages run the risk of undermining hub competitiveness, not to mention inconvenience to passengers,” he said, adding “some of Asia’s leading airports are operating close to or beyond design capacity, due to continued strong traffic demand.”
Figures from Airports Council International projected Asia will likely outpace the world in terms of passenger growth with 5.8% annual average expansion over the next 20 years, the Sydney-based consultancy said.
The region is also poised to overtake North America as the world’s biggest aviation market by 2025 with India and China leading the way on the back of their huge domestic markets, it said.
Harbison said Asia’s airport congestion woes are also a burden on airlines.
“Airport congestion is also a major factor in costly added fuel burn for airlines at a time when environmental concerns are beginning to match cost factors,” said Harbison.
Estimates calculated by the consultancy showed 60 leading global airport investors have a combined pool of $50 billion (Rs2,20,850 ) ready for investment.