Could protectionist policies trigger a recession?

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Key figures in aviation have raised concerns over the impact that a global rise in populist governments and protectionist policies is having on air travel.

GlobalData’s aviation writer Adele Berti says: “Gripped by worldwide economic uncertainty, the aviation industry currently finds itself in a difficult position, divided by two contrasting trends. On the one hand, passenger numbers are growing, with recent Airport Council International (ACI) World figures estimating 8.8 million people chose air travel in 2018, making up for a 6.4% increase compared to the previous year.

“On the other hand, airfreight demand is struggling to keep pace, with some arguing that is has been hindered by a rise in protectionist and isolationist policies among some of the most influential powers in the world.

“According to ACI World head of airport business analytics Patrick Lucas, the fact that these drops occur at the same time as rising trade tensions between the US and China is anything but coincidental. Importantly, while ‘tit for tat’ tariff hikes might be seen by some as a ‘playground scuffle’ there are concerns that these could be early indicators of a coming recession.”