Tae Hoon Oum[1]
[1]Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Citation: Oum, T. (2023). Foreword. Journal of the Air Transport Research Society 1(1): 2-3
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1 Foreword

It gives me great pleasure to write this foreword to congratulate the ATRS leadership headed formerly by Prof. Martin Dresner and now by Prof. Anming Zhang for successfully expanding and steering the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) into a major global academic society and for taking the challenge of initiating its own academic journal. Congratulations to the hard-working current leaders and members of the ATRS!

In this foreword, I will first review how we began the ATRS journey and what we have accomplished, and then make a few suggestions to the ATRS and the journal editors. During the 1995 WCTR Society’s World Conference in Sydney, Australia, we formed the Air Transport Research Group (ATRG) as a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the WCTR Society. The then Scientific Committee Chair, Professor David Hensher (University of Sydney) and the Conference Chair, Prof. John Black (University of New South Wales), helped us to form this SIG. Since then, the WCTR Society’s SIG-A1 (Air Transport and Airports) conference sessions have been organized by the ATRS leadership. Furthermore, the ATRS is now one of the WCTR Society’s International Partner Organizations. In 1997, we formalized and elevated the ATRG into the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS), and organized the first ATRS World Conference, hosted by myself, at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada. The ATRS World Conference has since been held annually in various countries on five Continents (yet to be held in Africa).

As a Millennial Celebration project, in 2000 the ATRS initiated the Global Airport Efficiency Benchmarking project which led us to publish our first project report in the year 2002. It is important to mention that without the help and advice of the 13 Task Force members, Professor Chunyan Yu and I could not have successfully undertaken the annual benchmarking reports covering more than 200 major airports and airport groups around the world. The names of the 13 task force members are listed in the annual benchmarking report to this day. Over time, the ATRS Global Airport Efficiency Benchmarking Report made the aviation world pay significant attention to the efficiency (productivity) with which airports conduct their business to accomplish multiple objectives. In my view, this is a remarkable contribution to the air transport world by our academic society (ATRS).

I hope this new JATRS will serve as a shining light to air transport and aviation-related supply chain researchers in the world. In order to develop this new journal into far more than just another journal title among the growing list of journals, the editors will need strong and creative support from the current ATRS President, the ATRS Executive Committee, and the ATRS membership as a whole. In terms of starting this new journal, this is an excellent time because our world faces unprecedented changes in the post-pandemic period. The world faces enormous challenges on several fronts: (a) The Russian Invasion of Ukraine is fast creating a new cold war (cold war II) between the NATO alliance and China-Russia alliance; (b) The deglobalization of world economy that began with Trump’s America-First policy initiatives has been accelerating since the Russia-Ukraine war began, further accentuated by Mainland China’s desire to take over Taiwan, will change the world’s economic relationships; (c) Since the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Summit, climate change policy initiatives have been growing rapidly. Since the COP21 Paris Climate Change Summit in 2015, world-wide policy initiatives are gaining momentum toward the 2050 Net Zero campaign target. All these global-scale, political, economic and societal changes are leading nations and businesses to look into the importance of strategic sourcing and strategic inventory (instead of just-in-time for cost saving) and the diversification of sourcing countries (as opposed to scale economies in sourcing). These and other related changes call for a corresponding drastic reconfiguration of the transport network for all transport modes and the related infrastructure.

On the air transport side, therefore, in addition to regular paper submissions, I hope the JATRS team makes a special effort to attract high quality papers and/or organize multiple special issues on the following important topical issues:

  1. How the aforementioned global, political, economic and sourcing changes will impact the restructuring of air transport networks both for passengers and air cargo services. How should the global strategic alliances of airlines adjust in response to these changes?

  2. Global aviation carbon reduction efforts to help achieve the ICAO-led CORSIA (the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Schemes for International Aviation) efforts with the aim to achieve ‘Net Zero’ program targets. This is an important issue because the percent of the air transport sector’s global carbon emissions will be increasing significantly as carbon reduction programs advance much more rapidly in other sectors of the economy, and demand for air transport grows more rapidly than demands in most other economic sectors.

  3. Exploring a desirable and hopefully feasible future regulatory system for international air services because the current system of bilateral air services agreements (ASAs) between pairs of countries is very inefficient, time consuming and costly. This is about the time to replace this archaic regulatory system largely based on the 1944 Chicago Convention. It is important to do more serious research into creating a multilateral system suitable for the modern world. More research and policy discussions are needed to explore the possibility of including international air transport matters in the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) within the WTO framework.

Again, Congratulations to the ATRS leaders for initiating this journal at the time the world really needs it, and to the editorial team for their commitment to take on this challenge.

Tae Oum,
President of the World Conference on Transport Research Society
Founding President of the Air Transport Research Society