Asia-Pacific Economics Committee Meets for the First Time since Onset Of COVID-19
The 17th Meeting of the ACI Asia-Pacific Economics Committee took place in Singapore on May 19, 2022, the first physical meeting since the onset of COVID-19.
The hybrid meeting also offered an opportunity to join virtually for those who could not make it. The meeting had 9 in-person attendees and 22 dialing in from around the region.
The meeting featured extensive discussions around recovery, expectations in future growth and development of airport industry in the region. Although most of our Committee Members are optimistic about the recovery of passenger traffic as an increasing number of countries such as Cambodia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia have withdrawn the restrictions on international air travel. However, the spread of the Omicron variant in some key markets, including China and Hong Kong, and the subsequent renewed social restrictions and tightening border controls have cast a shadow over the recovery.
Additionally, it was shared that the ongoing geopolitical crisis in eastern Europe and its subsequent impacts on macroeconomic factors, including intensified inflation and rising energy and food prices, as well as disruptions of global supply chains and distortions to global trade have negatively affected air transport markets. The Committee agreed that the road to recovery remains long and challenging despite the positive signs of reopening.
As part of an effort to “Build Back Better”, the Committee affirmed that ESG and Sustainability should be one of our priorities as the industry prepares for recovery. In collaboration with the Regional Environment Committee, ACI Asia-Pacific will continue to educate members on the importance of ESG and Sustainability in the context of airport business, extending the focus of our association beyond the pressing issues of decarbonisation and other dimensions of environmental sustainability to the broader range of topics encompassing social responsibility and good corporate governance. In addition, engagements with financial institutions, as well as credit and sustainability rating agencies, will be arranged in order to better understand the links between ESG and finance.
Another key topic that was discussed in the meeting was the development of non-aeronautical revenue. Members were keen to learn about the best practices and recommendations shared at ANARA, ACI World sub-committee, covering the themes of digital transformation, concession agreements, retail including duty free, ground access, food and beverage, and sustainability.
The meeting also featured a presentation by a guest speaker from Mott MacDonald – the consulting partner of ACI Asia-Pacific, on the key findings of the 1st quarterly edition of the Airport Industry Outlook - Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. The publication aims to provide a snapshot of how airports in the region have performed during the first quarter of 2022 (January to March) in terms of traffic, economics, airport service quality and other pertinent dimensions.
The next ACI Asia-Pacific Economics Committee meeting will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2022. We are looking forward to seeing our members in-person and continuing strategic discussions on the current priorities and challenges of the airport industry.