Investment in airports vital for growth

Singapore, October 8 :

A glitzy new airport that opened recently in Thailand reflects Asia’s need for investment to cope with a fast-growing aviation sector, industry analysts say.

While the opening of Suvarnabhumi international airport has intensified rivalry within Asia for market sh-are, analysts say an expanding aviation sector means there is enough business for everybody. “We are not worried about over-investing,” said Paul Behnke, director of economics at Airports Council International (ACI). “There is under-investment in some of the key countries and frankly, airport capacity is in short supply.”

Passenger traffic in the Asian region is projected to grow by eight per cent in 2006 and 7.8 per cent next year, faster than the global average of 5.1 per cent for the same period, according to ACI. Air freight traffic in Asia is expected to grow an average 6.9 per cent in the 2004-2020 period against the global average of 5.4 per cent, said the Geneva-based body whose 557 members operate more than 1,530 airports globally.

“The reality is the region needs new international capacity and we welcome new capacity,” he said. “I don’t see many airports out there that are terribly under-utilised.”