Air Transport World

Overflying SARS: Asia/Pacific carriers recover, show optimism for 2004.(Organizations)

An air of guarded economic optimism enveloped the 47th annual Assembly of Presidents of the Assn. of Asia Pacific Airlines on Jeju Island, South Korea, in late October. Without attempting to minimize the damage that SARS and the war in Iraq caused to the region's airlines in the first half of the year, AAPA DG Richard Stirland nevertheless pointed out that recovery for many has been rapid, with "no discernible impact on the fundamental desire to travel, on the long-term growth of airfreight, nor a progressive weakening of airline balance sheets."

Most important, AAPA's 17 member carriers "operate in a region of enormously powerful long-term economic forces, overcoming all economic and political obstacles in its path, rising on the incoming tide of GDP growth, trade expansion, increase of disposable income and liberalization of travel and tourism. …

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