Airlines have traditionally served not just as a mode of transport, but also as a key platform for opening up regions for trade and economic development. It has been said in the past that aviation facilitates trade.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the most ambitious infrastructure project in modern history. Covering over 60 countries and 60% of world’s population. BRI seeks to transform trade by enhancing the connectedness and integration different nationalities through mega projects that will create road, rail and waterways transportation facilities.
The benefits of these mega projects have been mentioned across leading media outlets across the world. As an airport hospitality business leader, specifically focusing on the wellbeing of passengers during their travels, I am curious as to how this our industry stands to gain from the trillions worth initiatives with projects in over 60 countries.
Belt and Road Initiative, will create new traffic flows within China and the rest of the world as a result more of the world will be exposed to China’s hospitality. BRI presents with aviation world not just growth opportunities but also a chance to up the ante in the one part of the world where customer service has more opportunities to improve.
Specifically, Chinese carriers have been increasing their capacity. Between 2010 and 2017, Chinese carriers long-haul seat capacity grew by 233%. Over 549 Chinese passengers flew in 2017 compared to 184M in 2007.
Mckinsey Global Institute forecasts a threefold growth in passenger numbers over the next ten years. Current China’s five-year plan shows over 70 new airports under for construction. Daxing International Airport in Beijing is expected to open late 2019. It will be the world’s biggest airport by far, with eight runways and room for 100m passengers a year. It is clear that China growth spurt in aviation is just getting started and will play a major support role in the Belt Road Initiative roll out.
That aviation spurs growth is not in question, an engine of commerce as noted by current IATA Director General, Alexander de Juniac. BRI has been designed to promote efficiency and profitability by creating and facilitating networks and ways that allow for trade and economic development. It is crucial that this efficiency is also reflected in airports across China.
With the anticipated growth in air travel within China, it is inevitable for China aviation community to have world-class hospitality. It’s not just about infrastructure. Investment in labour market to ensure availability of talent that can provide excellent services to these passengers is crucial.
Airports and Airlines in China will want to partner with key global hospitality organisations to enhance the passenger travel experiences. Over the past 20 years, Plaza Premium Group has worked closely with international airports & airlines, to provide value to their passengers. The over 14 million customers that we serve come to us because we sell them value of an enhanced travel experience. Recently we opened our first Aerotel in Guangzhou Airport, our first airport transit hotel in China.
In addition to managing lounges for partner airlines in Shanghai and Beijing, we have signed business agreements with four airports for investment in lounges, transit hotels and common areas. It is also worth noting that Plaza Premium Group has presence in more than half of the 60 countries that have Belt Road Initiative projects.
While the hospitality industry in China has greatly improved, we still witness areas with opportunities to give better quality service. Global organisations such as Plaza Premium Group work in key China airports enhancing the service offering to a world class standard that most of the passengers have become accustomed to.
I foresee more airports in China will seek to work with global hospitality organisations to provide more value, comfort and create seamless airport experiences for travellers.
Plaza Premium Group is an Asian brand that has gone global – Asian hospitality has long been seen at high quality to the world. With BRI, I believe we will further promote and introduce our high standard of hospitality to more travellers around the world.