Home' Asian Aviation : AVV November 2017 Contents AsianAviation | November 2017 23
well. For example, Singapore and Australia have signed since 2013
two agreements that call for joint research, cooperation on aircraft
certification and sharing of safety information.
Air traffic controllers are doing their part in places such as China,
despite inconveniences, said Eric Lin, aviation sector analyst with
UBS in Hong Kong. Flight delays that are common in China may af-
fect passengers’ travel plans, he said, but airports are keeping those
planes grounded and behind schedule to guard against accidents.
Elsewhere in Asia, he added, regulators are doing more audits.
“States and industry are committed to continuously improve aviation
safety,” an air transport association publicist said without elaborating.
The ICAO declined to answer requests to discuss Asian air safety
for this report and two regional airlines declined comment.
Airports in Asia indicate they have helped improve flight safety
by following ICAO guidelines aimed at the whole world. A hand-
book published by the agency in 2010 covers about 70 categories,
including cleanliness, ground vehicle movement, runway friction
measurements and wildlife hazards.
Authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport, one of Asia’s
busiest, follow ICAO standards and “recommended practices,” the
Chinese territory ’s Civil Aviation Department said in a statement for
Asian Aviation magazine. The airport handled 70.5 million passen-
gers last year, up 2.9 percent over 2015, because of an increase in
travel by Hong Kong residents and the popularity of Hong Kong as
a world trade centre.
“ The Civil Aviation Department, as the regulator, ensures that the
Aviation Authority of Hong Kong continuously improves safety per-
formance in the operation and maintenance of the Hong Kong Inter-
national Airport through inspections and audits,” the statement says.
Changi Airport in Singapore says fire-fighting vehicles can reach
an aircraft accident in two to three minutes and control any blaze
within one minute. The Asian hub saw 58.7 million passengers last
year following a steady rise since 2012.
Following ICAO guidance, the city-state’s airport also uses a
rescue base in the adjacent sea. “Operating highly specialised
emergency vessels and equipment in the event of aircraft incidents
out at sea, the Sea Rescue Base is also the only hovercraft operator
in Singapore,” Changi Airport says.
Civil aviation growth has given Asian airlines enough money to
buy newer aircraft, eliminating older planes that could pose risks,
Lin said. Rising incomes in China and Southeast Asia are raising
interest in leisure travel, adding to commercial aircraft fleets and the
scales of airports in Asia.
The region has some of the world’s fastest-growing airports,
particularly in India and secondary Chinese cities. Eight of the
world’s 20 busiest airports last year also were in Asia excluding the
Middle East, according to data from the trade association Airports
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region carry one-third of the world’s
total air passenger traffic “and play an increasingly important role
in the successful development of the global air transport industry,”
the AAPA’s Herdman said.
Some airlines are learning from their aircraft vendors, such as
Airbus and Boeing, how to do better maintenance work, as well. To
guard further against crashes, Lin said, Asian airlines are giving their
pilots more time off to rest or get more training.
But accidents still happen. Among the most notorious of the past
decade, Malaysian Airlines suffered two in the same year.
In March 2014, the carrier ’s Flight 370 disappeared en route from
Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The fate of the aircraft carrying 239 people
sparked an unusually long, multi-country search that yielded only
pieces of the aircraft. In July 2014, a Malaysian Airlines flight from
Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine, killing
298 people on board.
Also, twice within a year, now defunct Taipei-based TransAsia
Airways crashed on two domestic routes. A plane with 48 people
aboard went down in July 2014 over an island in the Taiwan Strait
and another crashed into a river minutes after take-off in Taipei in
February 2015. Fifteen of the 58 people on board survived.
AirAsia, consistently ranked as one of the region’s best low-cost
carriers (LCCs), has also suffered from safety failures. An Indonesia
AirAsia A320 crashed in 2014, killing all 162 souls on board.
Last year IATA warned that crowding at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi
Airport posed safety risks, while soft spots on the aprons, tarmacs
and taxiways endangered aircraft.
Growth in civil aviation around Asia raises the threat of accidents
despite new aircraft, Lin said. Aviation authorities must closely watch
airlines that might be too new to know all the safety practices.
“ The key risk for the region is its growth,” he said. “ That’s from
traffic demand and a lot of airlines, so regulators need to keep a
Of the 2016 accidents in Asia, two February crashes in Nepal
involved relatively small and new airlines, Tara Air and Air Kasth-
amandap. The Tara Air crash killed 23 people. The other killed two
crew members and injured nine passengers.
Some smaller countries have “limited resources” to develop air
traffic control systems, operations and “technical skills” for pilots
and airport ground personnel, the Asian Development Bank said
in a 2014 report on regional air safety. The bank supports an office
that pools resources for Pacific Ocean countries such as Papua
Nepal’s mountainous airports, crucial to its tourism industry, are
getting help from a bank project to improve safety. Aid goes to the
Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu plus three remote
Although the Asia-Pacific’s overall accident rate last year was
35 percent lower than in 2015, that drop “was counterbalanced by
the increase of hull loss and fatal accidents,” IATA said in a report
◀ Lion Air flight 904 crashed in 2013, but all 101 passengers and
seven crew members survived.
Links Archive AAV October 2017 AAV Dec17 Jan18 Navigation Previous Page Next Page