John Slosar has urged the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) to become the region’s leading voice in the global arena.
Addressing the AAPA Assembly of Presidents of Hong Kong on Friday, the Cathay Pacific Group’s incoming chairman, representing host carrier Dragonair, said that as Asia Pacific becomes an increasingly important player in the global aviation industry, it needs a unified voice to help it compete on a level playing field with Europe and the US.
“[Asia Pacific] is where it’s happening and Asia must have a voice,” Slosar told delegates at the event. “The AAPA should be that voice.”
In response, the AAPA’s director-general, Andrew Herdman, said he would “welcome” the challenge of providing the Asian aviation industry’s unifying voice, adding that individual governments and airlines must come together to support the region’s growth.
“Asia Pacific accounts for 37% of global GDP, but doesn’t have a common regional regulator,” Herdman said. “Asia’s diversity is something to be proud of, but we need to work together on a multi-lateral level.
“Strength lies in collective unity and if Asia wishes to play a bigger part in global discussions it must be prepared to speak with one single voice. We need to set aside personal and political differences and work together on issues on common concern,” he added.
Slosar also praised the AAPA’s work in supporting the development of the aviation industry’s CNG2020 strategy, which has the goal of achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards, through the development of a global carbon trading and offsetting scheme.
The Cathay Pacific chief said the AAPA was “vocal and committed” in its support for the scheme, and played a “decisive role” in achieving the desired outcome. “One could say that this was the AAPA’s finest hour,” Slosar said.
Unfortunately, within weeks of successfully negotiation the ICAO-led strategy, the EU resumed plans for its controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – a decision that Herdman said “has been met with a mixture of incredulity and disbelief”.
“We can only hope common sense will prevail and Europe will reconsider, and add its full weight and support to the agreement made at ICAO,” Herdman said.
And a strong AAPA will would no doubt lend considerable weight to Asia’s impact on the global aviation industry, when discussing key issues.