The aviation industry which is affected by the global economic slowdown is expected to recover in two years' time, said International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) president Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez here on Monday.
He said, "ICAO has formulated a medium-term forecast which points to an industry recovery by 2010. Financially, airlines of ICAO member states post an operating loss for 2008 and profits in 2009 and 2010."
Passenger traffic growth will also recover by 2010, he said when addressing delegates at Singapore Aviation Academy 50th anniversary lecture.
He said the volatility of oil prices and uncertainty of the global economy make it difficult to predict what will happen to the industry.
"Many airlines have taken steps to counter the rapid increase in oil prices, such as retiring older, less energy efficient aircraft, abandoning non-productive routes, reducing the workforce and contemplating mergers," he said.
He also pointed that the industry is short of highly skilled workforce. In the next few years, there will be a massive wave of retirement from the current workforce, so training and retaining qualified personnel is key for the industry.
At the function, Kobeh signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Lim Hwee Hua, Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, to provide 50 training fellowships to ICAO member states for training at Singapore Aviation Academy in 2009.