SINGAPORE, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Transport of lithium batteries stands to be the most topical issue for the safety of air cargo, the International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said Tuesday.
He made the remarks at the IATA 13th World Cargo Symposium at the heels of the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines' aircraft which killed all 157 people on board on Sunday.
The recent tragic incidents are reminders that the quest for zero accidents and zero fatalities in aviation continues, the CEO noted.
If properly labeled and packaged, lithium batteries can be shipped safely and there are global standards for this, he said, adding that however, the standards are sometimes ignored by shippers and are not enforced by the governments.
Juniac called on the governments and industry insiders to make more efforts to ensure air cargo safety.
In another development, Lam Pin Min, senior minister of transport and health of Singapore said that his country will continue to innovate and transform its Changi Airport to meet the evolving demands of the air cargo sector.
According to Lam, Singapore's Changi Airport Group (CAG) is currently planning for its east expansion as part of the future Changi East Industrial Zone which will almost double the current handling capacity for cargo after completion.
The future air freight terminals will be highly automated and data-driven, he said, adding that the air cargo community is working closely with CAG and the government to redesign the air cargo operations, improve productivity and raise the efficiency of the sector.
The outlook of the air cargo industry remains optimistic, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, he said, adding this can be attributed to two key trend -- the emerging growth opportunities in Southeast Asia and rapidly growing middle-class in Asia.
The 13th edition of the World Cargo Symposium kicked off in Singapore on Tuesday, bringing together worldwide key stakeholders from air cargo supply chain to discuss issues and share ideas.