Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2016 Contents 34 AsianAviation | MAY 2016
AAV: At the recent Routes Asia conference in
Manila, much was made of the “disconnect” between
aviation growth in Asia mainly led by LCCs, and the
lack of proper infrastructure in many locations. Given
Thales’ position in air traffic management, is this a
problem for the company to grow that particular
business line in Asia?
MLB: Whether it’s driven by low-cost carriers
or traditional airlines, growth in air traffic activity
is generally positive for our business. Most
regional Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs
or the national entities in charge of air space
management) realise that a crucial component of
economic growth is investment in modernisation.
As they compete with the rest of the region to
boost tourism and international investment in their
respective countries, they are also building their
infrastructure. We see this not as a problem, but an
opportunity, especially for a group like Thales that
already enjoys numerous client references across
Asia, from Singapore to China to Thailand.
AAV: Where do you see the opportunities for the
company in terms of ATM in Asia?
MLB: Asia is becoming more accessible to the rest
of the world, with new airports being built and airport
expansion and modernisation projects being initiated
across the region. The growing tourism trade also
puts pressure on airport operators to optimise and
cater for more flights. These factors present new
growth opportunities for Thales to upgrade existing
There is no rule of thumb for what demand prevails
in each different country, therefore there is no silver
bullet that meets what everyone wants. The one
constant we are seeing is a region-wide demand for
modernisation and systems that allow them to cope
with a steady projected volume increase. China alone
is planning to build 10 new airports per year over
the next five years and this will have a trickle-down
effect across the region in terms of traffic volumes.
Also, the growth of the low-cost sector in the region
is something which many ANSPs are viewing as a
precursor of rapid volume increase.
This plays very well into our strategy. We are
arguably the only player in the market that is not tied
to a particular type of technology. When it comes
to surveillance, for example, many providers will try
and push for the technology they are proponents
of (some are strong in radar tech, some are
proponents of Multilateration or ADS-B or other
non-radar technologies). Thales, on the other hand,
approaches it differently as we lead in all types of
technology and are not tied down to a single one.
This is important in Asia since there are so many
disparate needs, different challenges and different
geographic situations to account for that you need
someone who can work all technology to best fit the
ANSP needs for a particular region. That gives us a
dominant position across most parts of Asia.
AAV: What are the challenges for ATM business
growth in Asia?
MLB: A challenge lies with the disparity between
the requirements dictated by growth and individual
countries’ means to support modernisation efforts.
While airlines are experiencing significant growth
in the region, in line with a growing middle class,
which causes an increase in passenger volume,
governments themselves still need to keep pace
by dedicating resources to serious infrastructure
development programmes, as well as the staffing
and training needed to modernise airspace
management. Such capability grows year-on-year
but still lags behind demand. It is up to companies
like Thales to provide solutions that support growth,
but are also cost effective and well supported by
training and maintenance.
Like every aviation-related company in the world, Thales believes Asia is the future growth engine for the industry. Asian Aviation
editor Matt Driskill asks Marie-Laure Bourgeois, the company’s vice president for South & Southeast Asia, about the company’s
plans for the region.
Thales sees Asia challenges as opportunities
A mockup of the Thales Avionics 2020 cockpit.
5/05/2016 7:23:24 PM
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