Govts should consider benefits of liberal air services regime: Transport Minister
- POSTED: 10 Feb 2014 11:38
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While governments need to play a firm regulatory role in ensuring air travel remains safe, they also need to guard against over-regulating the aviation sector, said Singapore's Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.
SINGAPORE: While governments need to play a firm regulatory role in ensuring air travel remains safe, they also need to guard against over-regulating the aviation sector, said Singapore's Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.
Giving the opening address at the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit on Monday morning, he said "governments with air hub aspirations" will have to respond to major trends that will reshape the sector in the coming years.
Citing the rise of low-cost carriers and new air hubs, he said instead of only looking after the interests of its airlines, governments should also consider the wider benefits to the economy and society of a liberal air services regime.
A liberal regime, for example, brings more choices and competitive fares to consumers.
Mr Lui noted that restricting traffic rights does not necessarily bring more business for local airlines because passengers could choose to travel via other airports.
To respond to strong growth, governments will also have to ensure sufficient capacity, he added. This goes beyond adding capacity on the ground, but also ensuring "air navigation systems stay ahead of growing air traffic".
Mr Lui will inaugurate the new Singapore Air Traffic Control Centre later on Monday.
Growth in airport and air traffic capacity also has to be allied to an increase in skilled manpower, and governments have a critical role to play in this, he said. This is to ensure there are adequate training places and programmes, as well as an attractive career in the aviation sector.
Mr Lui also said governments will have to rethink how to better meet the needs of air travellers, especially low-cost carrier passengers, who are becoming the "predominant segment of travellers".
He cited the example of Singapore, which decided to tear down the Budget Terminal to make way for a new Terminal 4 that will be ready in 2017.