Prospects for Asia Pacific carriers “improving fasters” than other regions: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday stated intra-Asia Pacific travel had eclipsed North America as the world’s largest aviation market in 2009, for the first time. Asia Pacific travelers numbered 647 million, compared to 638 million within North America (including domestic markets). By 2013 an additional 217 million travelers are expected to take to the skies within Asia–Pacific.

IATA added that Asia Pacific’s carrier are expected to see losses shrink from USD3.4 billion in 2009 to USD700 million in 2010, with prospects for the region's carriers “improving faster than other regions”. See related report: Asia traffic eclipses North America: CAPA celebrates 20 years with 20% off and FREE iPad

JAL remains "neutral" on international partner; decision to be made "as soon as possible"

JAL's new Chairman, Kazuo Inamori, stated the carrier intends to choose an international airline partner (Delta Air Lines or American Airlines) “as soon as possible”.

JAL President, Massuri Onishi, added that the carrier remains “neutral” on the matter, stating, “under new management, the company is seriously reviewing the issue from scratch, without being influenced by previous discussions”. See related report: JAL takes neutral stance on alliance issue. New Chairman: carrier to be rebuilt “swiftly”

India’s aviation sector to revive by 2011: Civil Aviation Minister

Shares in SpiceJet and Kingfisher Airlines gained 8.4% and 3.2%, respectively, as India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, on Monday expressed hope that the airline industry would rebound by 2011, commenting that the last quarter of 2009 has “again raised some hopes of revival”.

The carriers' shares were also boosted by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum reducing Indian jet fuel prices by approximately 5.5% on 01-Feb-2010, following an increase of approximately 6.5% on 15-Jan-2010.

Shares in Jet Airways slipped 1.1% yesterday, on reports that the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation plans to request Indian airlines pay back the 17-18% import duty (which they are currently exempt from), on the purchase of aircraft, if they are leased to a foreign carrier.

The intervention would affect Jet Airways, which proposes to lease three B777-300s (previously leased to Gulf Air) to Royal Brunei Airlines. Jet Airways also previously leased aircraft to Oman Air and Turkish Airlines. Domestic carriers are currently exempt from import duty of 17-18% on aircraft for commercial operation, while charter airlines are required to pay the tax.

For all this and more coverage of today's Asia Pacific aviation developments, see Asia Pacific Airline Daily.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 01-Feb-2010