> Asia Insights – observations from the CAPA Asia Aviation Summit

Asia Insights – observations from the CAPA Asia Aviation Summit

The 2023 edition of the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Asia Aviation Summit & Sustainability Awards took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 2-Nov-2023 and 3-Nov-2023.

Here’s some of the key observations from panellists and speakers at the event.

‘We see demand in Asia keep up with capacity largely’: Skyscanner VP

Skyscanner VP strategic relations and development Hugh Aitken stated “We see demand in Asia keep up with capacity largely. The one market in Asia which is an exception is India, where we see very rapid growth. And that seems to be demand, yield, everything”. Mr Aitken added: “We’re seeing people wanting to travel more, spend more as well… The other thing is that people aren’t just looking for the lowest cost, they’re looking for the best value”.

IATA Asia consulting leader: ‘Difficult to convince people to come back’ to aviation industry

IATA Asia consulting leader Thomas Pellegrin stated “A lot of people left the industry during the pandemic. There isn’t the same sexiness as there used to be in the industry. It’s difficult to convince people to come back”.

Malaysia Airports senior GM strategy: Emerging changes to pax expectations a challenges

Malaysia Airports senior GM strategy Megat Ardian Wira Mohd Aminuddin stated “The challenge going forward, and the main thing we see is the baseline of passenger demands are changing. The business has to be taking people where they want to go on time… in a very safe, reliable and predictable way. That is the baseline”. Mr Aminuddin added: “What we see in how we want to design the future of airports, is that there’s a lot more of a need for an emotionally driven journey… passengers want more courteous staff, they want a human touch, they also want an ease of security screening, they want an availability of information – not just on an FIS screen but on demand”.

AirAsia Malaysia CEO: There will be ‘a number of hybrid solutions’ to address sustainability in 2024

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said he believes there will be “a number of hybrid solutions” to address sustainability “going into 2024”, including carbon credits and “some SAF utilisation”. Mr Asmat also said that while SAF remains too expensive for the carrier to operate with, he believes it is “a matter of time before production catches up”, adding: “I think we will be flying with alternative fuel for sure… I think five years from now SAF will have a foothold”.

SITA VP airports: Pandemic transformed pax willingness for solutions

SITA VP airports, borders, communications and data exchange Sanjeev K stated “We work with airlines and airports globally to address a specific pain point… Many of these are about taking the fear away from the passenger before they arrive at the airport”. He said the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the willingness of customers to accept “new solutions and a new approach”, adding: “A lot of passengers now are willing to share their data to ease their seamless travel journey, they want to have control within their phone”.

Consumer sentiment will change, intermodality to become ‘more important’: Wizz Air ESG officer

Wizz Air chief corporate and ESG officer Yvonne Moynihan said she believes consumer sentiment will change with people beginning to make “more conscious and smarter choices to fly more sustainably”. Ms Moynihan also said she believes intermodality will become “more important in the future”, adding: “You can already see it in the younger generations that this is how things are changing”.

All Nippon Airways EVP: ‘The era’ of the environmental solution ‘has started’

All Nippon Airways EVP, GM Asia, Oceania and Singapore Shinya Kanda stated “This is the era of the solution and I think the solution has started… I think we need to activate this environmental movement and these solutions to keep our aviation industry sustainable”. Mr Kanda added: “The point of this era is to raise an awareness of the customer and increase the power of people to understand the need for [these opportunities]”.

Airbus head of marketing APAC: Region is capable of handling aircraft on order due to demand

Airbus head of marketing APAC Bence Szabo stated “The Asia Pacific is the most vibrant region in the world and it’s growing in terms of its proportion of aviation”. Mr Szabo said he believes the region is capable of handing the large number of aircraft on order “because of the propensity for travel demand”.

CAE head of sales (Asia): Tech modernisation took second priority for airlines during pandemic

CAE head of sales (Asia) Vivian Dsouza stated “The pandemic came out of nowhere and when it hit, we had no idea about how long it was going to be around. The scale and duration with which it hit us was unimaginable”. Mr Dsouza added: “While airlines were fighting to keep the lights on, everything else became second priority including infrastructure, IT and technology modernisation… We anticipate that there is going to be a better balance between technology and humans, which means that the human aspect of airline operations is going to heavily rely on technology”.

GMR Airports advisor: ‘Airport expansion is going to happen everywhere’

GMR Airports advisor Bashir Ahmad stated “Airport expansion is going to happen everywhere… The question is then about, for all this expansion, there must be some returns. I think airports will be ready to expand, they won’t have a choice”. Mr Ahmad added: “The good thing about India for airports expansion is that we have AERA – the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority – who decides on the challenges and makes sure that the challenges are sufficient enough for airports to expand, and that’s a good problem”.

IBS Software SVP: Modern customer expectations can’t be met with ‘current legacy infrastructure’

IBS Software SVP, regional head Asia Pacific and Middle East Gautam Shekar said in order for travel businesses to deliver modern customer expectations, there needs to be “invasive technology which is used to deliver” services. Mr Shekar said it is “not possible to cater to an experience-based sale with current legacy infrastructure”, adding: “The actual experience of going through the journey of a sale, that creates a very sticky impact in the mind of the consumer. The user experience has to be best-in-class”.

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