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Limiting free trade will clip aviation's wings - report

Oct 16 2018 18:02
Carin Smith

If governments create a more fragmented world - one characterised by isolationism and protectionist policies rather than free trade - it could lead to 12 million job losses and $1.2trn less in economic activity supported by air transport in future. 

This is according to a new report by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). 

The report, titled Aviation: Benefit Beyond Borders, was commissioned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and released at the ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva recently.

On the other hand, the report estimates that, with an open, free-trade approach, the growth in air transport globally could support about 97.8 million jobs and $5.7trn in economic activity by 2036.

It is estimated that global air transport currently supports 65.5 million jobs and $2.7trn in economic activity.

The global scope of the industry shows there are 1 303 airlines which fly 31 717 aircraft on 45 091 routes between 3 759 airports in airspace, managed by 170 air navigation service providers.

Millions of jobs

"There are over 10 million women and men working within the industry to make sure 120 000 flights and 12 million passengers a day are guided safely through their journeys," said ATAG’s executive director Michael Gill.

"The wider supply chain, flow-on impacts and jobs in tourism made possible by air transport show that at least 65.5 million jobs and 3.6% of global economic activity are supported by our industry."

Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said airlines empower people’s lives and turbo-charge the global economy through a worldwide network that safely carries more than four billion passengers and 62 million tonnes of freight each year.

'Crucial links in air transport'

In challenging political, economic and environmental times, the ability of aviation to sustainably connect cultures and spread prosperity beyond borders has never been more important, in his view.

Angela Gittens, director general of Airports Council International, regards airports as crucial links in the air transport value chain that drive economic and social benefits for the local, regional, and national communities they serve.

For Jeff Poole, director general of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the provision of efficient, safe and cost-effective air traffic management is a key enabler to the benefits of aviation.

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airlines  |  trade wars  |  aviation
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