KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 (Bernama) — Malaysia is committed to playing a part in ensuring not just the survival but the continued strengthening of the aviation industry, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
He said the country’s experience had shown that with sound policies, coupled with flexibility and agility in responding to changing circumstances, the aviation industry could survive and even thrive in spite of an unforgiving economic climate.
“Clearly, the aviation industry is far too important for governments to ignore or let fall by the wayside. The Malaysian government is fully supportive of the aviation industry as a key sector of business and commerce,” he said in his opening address at the 65th International Air Transport Association (IATA), Annual General Meeting (AGM) here.
Among the initiatives taken by Malaysia to strengthen the aviation industry, especially for the long term, is to work closely with other Asean member countries to look into the possibility of a single aviation market, as in the European Union.
“This will probably be some distance in the future, but it is an exciting possibility, none the less,” he said.
The Asean Roadmap is to fully liberalise air services in the region by 2015, he added.
Other efforts undertaken by the Malaysian government includes helping airlines to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions through revised air traffic control procedures, as well as the implementation of a Continuous Descent Approach, for aircraft landing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport(KLIA).
He said the trial currently involves Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines and would eventually be expanded to include other carriers.
Najib added that Malaysia was also committed to working with the industry in not only reducing air travel costs but also improve efficiency and facilitation of passenger and freight movements at its airports.
On a broader level, he said Malaysia had responded to a “mayday” call from airlines’ by announcing a 50 percent rebate on aircraft landing fees at the KLIA as part of the two-year stimulus package, starting last April.
This is expected to benefit the airlines flying into Malaysia to the tune of RM200 million.
However, Najib also urged the industry itself to look inward and reflect on the way it has evolved, the changes that must now take place in order to prepare for a future fraught with risks and uncertainties and beyond the role played by governments.
“I am certain that other governments too are looking into every possible means of ensuring the industry survives this global economic crisis and gains greater resilience for the future,” he said.
He added that the air transport industry together with governments must work hand in hand to find solutions to map the way forward.
“As the the challenges today, would likely resurface time and again, the industry must find a way to insulate itself so that future shocks could be well absorbed without too much impact or damage to the aviation players,” he said.
In Malaysia, Najib said the national aviation sector had a high multiplier affect of 12.5 times to the overall economy in terms of tourism, infrastructure and logistics development.
Meanwhile, the aviation industry’s global economic impact is estimated at US$3.5 trillion or 7.5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product annually.
Source : Bernama