The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to support the vital role aviation plays in connecting people and commerce around the globe.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac says: “Our world has grown much wealthier through trade and travel. Air travel liberates people to live better lives and makes our world a better place.”
IATA says in the US, the aviation sector contributes $680.1 billion to GDP and supports 6.2 million jobs. “Aviation is the business of freedom and we must continue to work together to make it so,” says de Juniac, who was speaking at the US Chamber of Commerce 2017 Aviation Summit on 2 March.
Much of his comments were made to US President Donald Trump and he called on the Trump Administration to reduce in the tax burden on aviation and air travelers, and offer a new approach to the provision of air traffic services.
“The tax burden needs to be reduced. Airlines for America estimates that taxes account for more than a fifth of the cost of the average domestic ticket. In a country as big, beautiful and full of opportunity as the US, why have a taxation policy that discourages travel?
“Travel stimulates the economy with tourism dollars and business development. We hope that the Trump Administration will create jobs by dramatically reducing the tax burden on travel,” de Juniac says.
As for air Traffic Services he says: “Airlines and their passengers suffer the impact of the unpredictable federal budget process on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) provision of air traffic services.
“The US is falling behind in the introduction of new and more efficient technology. Now is the time to move forward with innovation in the provision of air traffic services.
“IATA supports the creation of an independent, corporatized non-profit entity to manage US skies. IATA hopes that this will be one of the achievements of the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress.”
De Juniac also urged the Trump Administration to return the country to the principles of airline deregulation.
“The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 unleashed competition and spurred innovation by letting market forces drive commercial decisions. And today consumers benefit from more travel choices than ever.
“Deregulation has benefited travelers, the US economy and the competitiveness of its airlines. I hope that the Trump Administration will keep that in focus.”
He also focused more broadly on the need for industry and government to align to support innovation. “Delivering the benefits of an ever safer, efficient and sustainable air transport system in the face of a doubling of demand by 2035 will require quick, constant innovation. At the industry level, governments play a particularly important role as partners and regulators.”
De Juniac also talked about security and says it is the responsibility of states but the industry is playing a role. “The threat is real and is constantly evolving. We must innovate to be more effective and more efficient,” he says.
IATA has partnered with Airports Council International (ACI) to promote Smart Security, which aims to reduce the hassle factor while making security more efficient and effective. Last year, IATA and ACI signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to deploy Smart Security concepts.
“Partnership with governments is critical for the success of Smart Security. And collaborative innovation is the only way to stay a step ahead of those intent on doing aviation harm. It is the only way to secure our vulnerabilities – landside, overflying conflict zones, insider threats or our IT infrastructure,” says de Juniac.