HONG KONG: Cathay’s Tyler warns of fuel price crisis

Cathay Pacific Airways chief executive Tony Tyler has warned of a new fuel priceinduced crisis for airlines amid the current increase in fuel prices but maintained a positive outlook for the aviation industry generally, and in particular the enormous opportunities presented by the growing market in Mainland China. Addressing the audience of industry representatives in […]


Cathay Pacific Airways chief executive Tony Tyler has warned of a new fuel priceinduced crisis for airlines amid the current increase in fuel prices but maintained a positive outlook for the aviation industry generally, and in particular the enormous opportunities presented by the growing market in Mainland China. Addressing the audience of industry representatives in Hong Kong, Tyler said: “We all remember the threat faced by the industry in 2008 when crude hit almost US$150 a barrel; now the price is back up above US$100.” “It’s possible that we’re already on the brink of the next industry crisis before the memory of the last has even begun to recede!” However, Tyler said he has always been positive about the development of the industry in Asia, “and I’m still a bull on the future of aviation in Asia”. He also noted that airfreight will be one of the big drivers of Hong Kong’s future success “and that the airfreight market will be driven by what’s happening in Mainland China.” He added that the airline’s joint venture cargo airline with Air China is about to come to life. “We will use Air China Cargo as the platform for the joint venture, with Cathay Pacific contributing some aircraft and with members of our senior management on board. We believe the JV will tap into the existing strength – and enormous potential – of the Yangtze River Delta region.” Tyler also highlighted the “exciting and enormous” potential of China’s growing market, where the number of passengers is expected to soar from 267 million last year to 500 million by 2015 and up to 1.5 billion by 2030. “Just imagine the impact of having hundreds of millions of China’s population become wealthy enough to travel outside the country’s borders! This is a very exciting prospect for airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, positioned as we are in Hong Kong, one of the key gateways to the Mainland. China’s growth will be good for our industry as a whole, providing unparalleled opportunities for the future,” he said. Tyler will be leaving his post at Cathay Pacific at the end of March and taking over the top job at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in July.