Cyberattacks are a growing threat to airlines, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said as the trade group convened in Kuala Lumpur Nov. 22 to finalize six annual resolutions.
AAPA members met in the Malaysian capital after the group’s planned Nov. 21-22 annual assembly in Hong Kong was canceled because of anti-government protests in the region.
Cybersecurity and disabled passenger facilitation emerged as new topics among the resolutions, which also included environmental issues, infrastructure, airport slots and taxation.
Speaking to reporters in Singapore, AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said cybersecurity is a growing issue, noting the region saw Cathay Pacific Airways and Lion Air as recent victims of attacks.
States are also imposing cybersecurity rules, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which will have an impact on carriers marketing to Europe.
AAPA’s cybersecurity resolution urges the industry and governments to establish global and regional approaches to the issue.
Beyond crimes such as cybertheft, Herdman gave the example of nations using cyberwarfare as new defensive and offensive tools, yet there are no
international regulations on such acts. He added that while aircraft are still relatively safe from external interference, air traffic management is vulnerable, and agencies should look at the issue as a system-level problem because of the interconnectivity of the industry.
Under its Aviation Cyber Resilience Project, AAPA has hosted four cybersecurity workshops since 2018, aimed at enhancing and strengthening the industry’s ability to prevent and handle cybersecurity threats.
While not part of the resolution, Herdman pointed out that digitalization and biometrics are growing trends in the industry, but there is a disconnect between the government and industry on the use and sharing of biometric data as a single travel token.
He called for global standards governing the use of such data.
In line with the push for improved accessibility outlined at the 40th ICAO Assembly, AAPA also adopted a resolution urging governments to work with stakeholders to develop an inclusive air transport system for passengers with both visible and nonvisible disabilities, in a “safe, secure and dignified” manner.
“While one cannot legislate for all kinds of circumstances, we need to have more outreach and engagement with other communities,”
Herdman said. “Rules vary from airlines and airports, and from a passenger’s point of view it is unharmonized and confusing.”
On the environment, AAPA called for government and industry stakeholders to implement ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), but said recognition must also be made of the interests of developed and developing nations.
China, Russia, India and other states at the ICAO Assembly, for example, filed official reservations about the scheme.
Herdman said the impact of carbon offsets on fares will be tapered and not noticeable, but will depend on carbon prices, which are still unknown.
He said if airlines operating on the same route face
different offset burdens, there will be competitive market distortion.
Culled from Aviation Transport World, ATW
By Chen Chuanren