By Daniel Chigundu
International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac say failure to reach an agreement in the BREXIT discussions could severely affect air links between UK and EU.
Addressing delegates at the European Aviation Summit in Vienna, de Juniac said while the aviation industry has saved many people poverty, there are others who are looking at turning back the clock.
“The opening up of borders to people and trade, which aviation has helped to facilitate, has lifted 1 billion people from poverty since 1990. There are forces, however, that are seeking to turn the clock back. Protectionism never has, and cannot be, a solution to our economic challenges.
“In that context, I must mention Brexit. We face a real danger that air links between the UK and EU could be severely damaged if an agreement is not found. We call upon both the EU and the UK to be far more transparent with the state of the discussions,” he said.
The IATA director general added that the freedom to fly is woven into the fabric of European society and “citizens will not be impressed if politicians fail to exercise common sense in preserving that hard-won freedom.
“I call aviation the Business of Freedom. Two days ago, a report from our sister organization, the Air Transport Action Group, reinforced that view. The report, Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders, confirms that aviation generates €624 billion and 9.4 million jobs in the EU.
“It underpins the global supply chain, enables migration for work and study, and helps millions of people fulfil their dreams to visit far-flung family, or to seek new experiences.
Aviation offers benefits far beyond the borders of the nation-state.
“It is my hope that nation-states help to remove the barriers that restrict the benefits of aviation,” he said.