Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Airlines And Airports Must Cooperate More To Reduce Costs

Airports and airlines must have greater cooperation to reduce overall operational costs rather than just look at reducing air transport charges, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's managing directer Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad said Tuesday.

He said it was not necessarily true that airlines would come to an airport if the aeronautical charges were lower, but carriers would go to places where there were markets for them to benefit.

"Heathrow charges are high but airlines still want to fly there. So, government incentives and lower charges do not necessarily bring airlines to airport," he said at a panel discussion entitled "Cash, Capacity, Crisis" at the Airports Council International (ACI) World & Asia-Pacific Conference and Exhibition here.

Bashir said there were many things that could be done such as having a shorter turn-off or taxiway and giving airlines good slots.

"Discussions are needed on other issues in terms of total costs rather than just airline charges," he said.

At the same event, Malaysia Airlines managing director and chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin also called for greater cooperation between airlines and airports.

Although he and Bashir have scheduled bi-monthly meetings to discuss how both parties could work together to reduce cost and enhance operation, Tengku Azmil said airport charges was only one of many facets of business the airline was looking at to reduce costs.

On the regional airport industry, ACI Asia-Pacific president Max Moore-Wilton said the industry needed to resume its growth trajectory and continued with infrastructure development to further develop the markets.

"The development of airports and markets in Asia-Pacific will lead the way for the rest of the world," he said in his keynote address at the opening session of the conference.

Moore-Wilton also said that the downturn for the industry may have bottomed out, indicating the possibility of a moderate recovery next year.

"Growth may be delayed, but not stopped," he said, adding that airports needed to have a strong commitment to services to be more innovative.

At the conference, ACI World chairman Jim Cherry in his keynote address said that airports had lost 10 to 20 per cent revenue globally since the financial crisis started.

Cherry said the airports which suffered the most were the ones with weak carriers and capital expenditure underway, adding that airlines could react quickly to financial crisis by adapting its business model to the scenario while airports generally has a fixed business model.

"Airports don't have the atitude or flexibility like the airlines do. We are more of a long-term model but we have been doing better following good government support and low debt loads," he said.

Source : Bernama
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