With the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines Asian (AAPA) saying that its 17-member airlines are now “enjoying strong growth in the midst of global economic recovery”, the rate of airport development can only increase.
Frost & Sullivan, a business research firm, predicts expansion in this sector “to be on full course” from 2010 onwards. Cheong Chern Wai, its Aerospace & Defense Practice Asia-Pacific consultant, said activity was “rampant especially in China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines”.
China and India, he added, would be the primary drivers of development. Over the next decade, Frost & Sullivan’s research indicates that over 350 new airports will come online to serve the demands of both business and leisure travellers.
Except for 2009, which was marked by a global recession, passenger and cargo traffic has registered positive levels year on year. This has resulted in airport congestion and the need to improve facilities to accommodate larger arrivals and aircraft. Cheong cited Singapore's Changi Airport and Malaysia's KLIA as having conducted numerous upgrading to keep up with their growth blueprint.
The trend for point-to-point commercial services, which supports the low-cost carrier concept, is also seen as a catalyst for more airport openings in, perhaps, smaller cities.
Frost & Sullivan also see airport companies raising their facilities' security capabilities through new technologies such as advanced x-ray systems and biometrics among others. "Since September 11, airport security has been given a significant boost to regain confidence amongst the masses on the safety of air travel," Cheong said.
Margie T Logarta