Infrastructure remains the biggest headache in the Asia Pacific region amid ever-increasing passenger traffic. In a statement on February 5, 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for urgent attention to address infrastructure challenges across Asia in order to secure aviation industry’s future in the region.

Ensuring sufficient and cost-efficient infrastructure in Asia Pacific is a top priority, IATA states “Having the infrastructure to grow is vital to our industry’s future. But in many key places, it is not being built fast enough to meet growing demand. And there are worrying trends which are increasing costs. One of these is airport privatizations,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, warning against pre-funding of infrastructure projects in his keynote address to the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit (SAALS).

De Juniac highlighted the lack of airport capacity in Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila as his top concerns in the Asia Pacific region. Adding that, “All the optimism supporting strong aircraft orders will mean nothing if we don’t have the capability to manage traffic in the air and at airports.”

IATA’s CEO praised the Singapore government for showing great foresight with its expansion plans for Changi Airport, including Terminal 5 (T5), but said there were challenges ahead. According to estimates, T5, which is to be operational in the 2020s, will double Changi’s passenger capacity from the current 66 million to 135 million annually.

Aside of that, here have been reports on plans to introduce tax on passengers and increases in charges to fund the construction of T5. The organization warned the Singapore government against raising charges at Changi as part of funding for the airport expansion.

“We must ensure the plans for T5 are robust enough to meet the high standards of airline operators and passenger convenience users of Changi Airport have come to expect. And we need to get the funding model right to avoid burdening the industry with extra costs,” said de Juniac.