Honeywell International Inc. Vice President, Airlines, Asia Pacific and Aerospace Leader, Brian Davis, has questioned whether the ASEAN region is prepared for full liberalization of its skies.
Explaining the complete approval of the ASEAN Open Skies agreement back in 2016 as a crucial point, Davis said Malaysia, for instance, could sure benefit from the increase in intra-ASEAN travel.
Davis, however, claimed that Malaysia’s airports might face near-term struggles in dealing with a wave of travelers.
Honeywell is a global software-industrial company based in New Jersey that provides solutions such as aerospace products.
Referring to a report by the Malaysian Aviation Commission, Davis remarked that Malaysia was the third largest aviation passenger market in Southeast Asian region, and passenger traffic would only grow by between 7.8 and 8.8% for last year, that is equivalent to roughly 98.3 million to 99.2 million passengers.
Davis said that while airports such as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport are being expanded to better handle capacity issues, governments and operators need to give these aviation hubs the proper means in tier one and tier two cities that are projected to see growth in air travel.
“The United Nations projects that tier two cities in South-East Asia like Samut Prakan (Thailand) or Batam (Indonesia) will experience the fastest rates of growth, with their population expected to more than double by 2025.
“These cities are fundamental to the growth of their nations’ economy as therein lie many untapped opportunities for the aviation industry to grow,” he added.
Davis emphasized that carriers need to start working on the development of innovations with on-board technologies and maintenance operations to maximize efficiency and safety, or risk putting passengers at risk, and worse, suffer substantial revenue losses from flight delays and unforeseen downtime.
“This is especially important for low-cost carriers (LCCs) that are expected to dominate the skies and be among the main beneficiaries during this boom in air travel.
“As Malaysia continues to strive towards ASEAN’s goal of achieving a ‘single sky’, new routes within the region will also open up, pushing LCCs to step up to meet the growing passenger demand,” Davis remarked.