Steady ahead for world's leading airports; Brazil on fast-track to Olympics


The world’s leading airports show pockets of promise but, on the whole, the outlook is cautious, as a sample from CAPA’s in-depth appraisal of the sector revealed this week.

Seattle Tacoma International has been touted as the quiet achiever of the US’ Pacific coast gateways, expecting a 20% year-on-year lift in capacity in 3Q2011 on top of promising 2010 results.

Atlantic services are performing well and Sea-Tac is looking forward to additional capacity on Delta's lucrative Amsterdam route. It is also riding the wave of Delta’s high-potential Asian expansion, but it’s not all one-way traffic. EVA Air is upgauging to B747-400 equipment from Taipei, Asiana will fly daily from Incheon but with athesmaller A330-300 while Korean Air will offer daily service with B777-200 equipment.

Despite the Japan market offering a near-term stumbling block, Sea-Tac has come through the global financial crisis well and looks set for a very positive summer peak.

Read the full report: Seattle Tacoma Airport looks forward to strong summer, international seats to surge close to 20%

Macau, on the other hand, finds itself bracing for darkening clouds on a number of horizons.

Read the full report: Macau Airport caught in the perfect storm. Warns of ‘more serious challenges’ in 2011

In addition to the continuous rise in fuel costs, Macau’s aviation industry will feel the impact of the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan, inflation pressures and the expiry of an airport management services contract and other sub-concessionaires.

LCCs have been lured away from Macau to the once-reluctant – and now accommodating – Hong Kong gateway while in the grand scheme of Beijing’s latest Five-Year Plan, the former Portuguese enclave appears to be a low priority.

The airport sector in Brazil – faced with the dual pressures of holding a FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games in the space of two years –  received a welcome announcement this week from new President Dilma Rousseff .

She announced the creation of a Special Secretariat of Civil Aviation which is expected to fast-track private airport upgrade projects in a country where infrastructure has not kept up with soaring demand.

Cognisant of the forthcoming world events – kicked off by the football World Cup in 2014 – IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani said during a recent visit: “Anybody who lands in Sao Paulo from an international flight has a very good chance of having a very bad first impression.”

Read the full report: New Brazilian CAA to focus on resolving airport infrastructure woes.

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