Industry insights from the opening afternoon of the IATA AGM

The CAPA – Centre for Aviation and The Blue Swan Daily content teams have been busy attending media conferences, interviewing senior aviation officials and discussing industry insights with delegates at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 74th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS).

Here’s just a fraction of the more than 70 news briefs available to CAPA members from the opening afternoon in Sydney, Australia.

Malaysia Airlines drops A380 reconfiguration project
Malaysia Airlines CEO Izham Ismail told CAPA on the sidelines of the IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit the airline no longer plans to reconfigure its A380 fleet. Capt Izham said the airline will continue to operate all six A380s in the existing three class 486 and 494 seat configuration and has dropped the earlier plan for retrofitting to a high density configuration with up to 700 seats. The new airline being established to operate the A380s on religious charters will try to use the premium capacity by focusing on the high end Umrah market. 

WTTC: 7-19m jobs can be created by investing in biometrics, airport infrastructure in G20 countries
World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) stated between seven and 19 million future jobs in the G20 countries can be created by the public and private sector working together on a seamless passenger experience. WTTC estimates that between 12% and 31% of all the future new jobs in travel and tourism across the G20 countries could be created by transitioning to a seamless passenger journey and the use of technology and biometrics solutions, in addition to infrastructure investment.

Aeromexico: New 737 MAX likely to be used to open new routes, but not necessarily to expand network
Aeromexico chief revenue officer Anko van der Werff said the airline will certainly use its new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to introduce new routes, but not necessarily to expand the range of its Americas network. “The range we have currently is fine. Bogota and Lima in some months we still have weight restrictions. When you look up north beyond Vancouver there is not a lot more so I think the circle as much is pretty much drawn with where you can go with the MAX. You can’t really go further beyond”, he said. However, the MAX will be used to open new markets, explained Mr van der Werff, but these will “probably be within that existing circle” with new routes to be announced as early as this week.

IATA notes lack of alignment in airport regulatory framework in Latin America and lack of transparency in tender process for African airport privatisations
IATA director global airport infrastructure and fuel Hermant Mistry said there is often a “lack of alignment with the regulatory framework” among airports in Latin America, adding that it is “very difficult to find a good model in Latin America” for airport privatisation. He also stated there is a “lack of transparency in terms of the actual tender process” in Africa, adding that “we are finding, nearly in all cases… that there is zero consultation with industry” and “only finding out about transactions when it is too late”. There is a “need change to this situation”, Mr Mistry added.

Osaka Kansai Airport forecast to record 8% to 9% traffic growth in 2018
Kansai Airports co CEO Emmanuel Menanteau said Osaka Kansai International Airport is forecast to record 8%-9% passenger traffic growth in FY2018/2019, while Osaka Itami Airport and Osaka Kobe Airport, both domestic airports subject to more restrictive regulation than Kansai, are forecast to record 2%-3% traffic growth. Mr Menanteau said the main driver of traffic growth for Kansai Airports continues to be international traffic, particularly inbound traffic from “our main markets”; South Korea, mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Fiji Airways discusses frequency increase plans for the future
Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen said the airline is planning a variety of frequency changes to its schedule. Mr Viljoen discussed key destinations, stating “for Hong Kong, we plan to go from five to daily”, on San Francisco, “we would love to see San Fran go to daily”, and “in the next five years, we hope Los Angeles to become double daily”.

AFRAA action plan to focus on capacity building
African Airlines Association (AFRAA) secretary general Abderahmane Berthe said the launch of the single African air transport market has been the highlight of the last year for aviation in Africa. Mr Berthe said capacity building will be a major area of focus for his recent action plan, adding: “we will have more aircraft operating and more passengers, so we will need more capacity and more human resources”.