Airports Council International (ACI) is urging unity across the industry as the air transport sector works through the pandemic recovery.
Speaking at the Singapore Airshow, ACI director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said airports and airlines are working closely to re-establish routes. He pushed back at claims that IATA director general Willie Walsh has made about some airports “gouging” airlines with high fee increases to recoup losses, saying there was a disconnect between those comments and the real world. He said that in real terms, most airport fees had come down over the past 10 years.
Calling for a more risk-based approach, in which airlines and airports work together in good times and bad, de Oliveira said: “If the airlines take advantage of the reduction in charges in good times, but don’t want to support airports in bad times, that is not fair … We see this as a critical moment for the industry in which everyone is bleeding and I think this is a time when we should put our hands together and work towards the recovery of the industry.”
He lauded how Singapore was using the downturn in passenger traffic as a time to invest in and test sustainable technologies, including greater availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), to ensure the entire economy and eco-system will reach the global industry’s net zero carbon emission goals.
Singapore has established an international advisory board that includes regulators, IATA, ACI and major manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to develop a sustainable air hub. De Oliveira also pointed to how Singapore Airlines was partnering with Exxonmobil, Neste and government-owned investor Temasek in its quest to be able to use to use SAF on all its flights from late 2022.
De Oliveira said Singapore’s partnership approach sets an example for others to follow and will encourage the development of green airports in Asia.