Asia to become the new nucleus for global air travel says Etihad chief
Growth in the aviation industry and liberalisation of regulations will make Asia the "new nucleus" for world air travel, according to the head of Etihad Airways.
Established carriers in Europe have been hit by government policies on aviation, and the balance of power now shifting east, said James Hogan, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi airline.
"We speak of Asia as the new centre of the world," he said.
Mr Hogan added that Etihad was focusing its attention to emerging economies in the East.
"Our future network hub strategy is built around the huge opportunities we see in provincial China, regional India and in other under-served growth areas," he said.
Mr Hogan was speaking at an address on the "shifting geopolitics of aviation" held at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia.
He said that rapid growth of airlines in the emerging markets will see the focus of the aviation industry shift east.
"Aviation will have a new nucleus: Asia," said Mr Hogan. "China has recently built 50 new airports. Another 50 will open before this decade is out... India, while slightly behind, is growing even faster."
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a bloc of 10 countries that include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, has proposed a plan to establish a single aviation market with no traffic restrictions by 2015.
Mr Hogan said such a transition would represent a "free and efficient framework for landing rights and air traffic control."
Published: August 11, 2011 04:00 AM