Aviation growth hinges on borders open to people, trade

The freedom for airlines to do business is absolutely essential for achieving the much needed connectivity in an increasingly inter-dependent world.This can only be possible when we have borders that are open to people and trade.Closing borders and restricting airlines from flying will be detrimental to interests of the global aviation industry as was emphasised by IATA’s director-general Alexandre de Juniac recently.Qatar’s connectivity with the rest of the world has been challenged since early June following the blockade imposed by four countries, including three of its neighbours.Therefore, only limited corridors are now available to Qatar Airways, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, and other airlines flying to and from the country.While speaking to Gulf Times in Geneva recently, de Juniac made it abundantly clear that IATA does not approve of any unfair restrictions on airlines, whatever the reasons are.The former boss of Air France � KLM urged those concerned to ensure restoration of proper air connectivity between Qatar and the rest of the world.The airline industry’s growth is critical to global economy. Global economic growth can only be achieved by connecting people and businesses.Aviation is the safest way to travel long distances. Each day more than 100,000 flights operate safely.By the year-end, airlines will have safely flown nearly 4bn people and 60mn tonnes of cargo over some 20,000 city pairs.This is a critical activity for the global economy. About a third of the value of goods traded internationally is currently shipped by air.International air travellers spend about $750bn annually, IATA figures show.Air transport is vital for manufactures trade, particularly trade in components, which is a major part of cross border trade today.The value of international trade shipped by air next year will be nearly $6.2tn and tourists travelling by air in 2018 are forecast to spend $776bn.Economic development worldwide is getting a significant boost from air transport. This wider economic benefit is being generated by increasing connections between cities – enabling the flow of goods, people, capital, technology and ideas – and falling air transport costs.Governments have also gained substantially from the good performance of the airline industry. Airlines and their customers are forecast to generate $136bnn in tax revenues next year.Additionally, the global aviation industry continues to create high value added jobs.And that’s why I call it the business of freedom. Global standards are a key enabler of aviation’s benefits. And that is a prime focus for IATA, de Juniac said.Emphasising that the blockade on Qatar would have an impact on the whole region, the IATA chief said, Uncertainty, instability and geopolitical risks are not favourable for the industry and the region (GCC).Clearly, blockade is not a positive element for the GCC and for airlines that are operating from and to the region.By bringing together people of different backgrounds and cultures to do business, to learn from one another and to solve problems, aviation provides immense value beyond what can be calculated.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar.