Message by Tony Tyler, Director General & CEO
While profits held up well during the first three quarters of 2011, we are approaching the New Year with uncertainty. Even the most optimistic scenario sees Europe dipping into a shallow recession and airline profitability weakening to $3.5 billion. Should Europe fail to find a robust solution to its sovereign debt crisis and the continent plunge into a deep recession, the global industry is likely to see losses in the range of $8 billion.
Whichever scenario unfolds, one thing is certain—governments will be looking for new revenues. The first examples are the UK which is putting up its Air Passenger Duty and the US which is proposing to make aviation a source for debt reduction funds with a new per plane tax and increased security charges.
We must remind governments that aviation is a catalyst for economic growth. It supports the livelihoods of some 33 million people, and over a third of the value of goods traded internationally is transported by air. Connectivity drives business. We commissioned Oxford Economics to quantify the benefits of aviation in 54 studies covering 80 countries.
The facts clearly show that aviation enables economic growth. But suffocate the aviation industry with punitive taxes, bad regulation or underinvested infrastructure and benefits disappear. Our goal is to encourage positive policy frameworks that allow aviation’s economic benefits to flourish.
IATA is a strong advocate to governments around the world. But by working together as a chorus of industry advocates, we will achieve better results than if IATA is a solo performer. Let’s make 2012 the year when the aviation value chain joins forces to urge governments for positive and coherent aviation policies. A safe, efficient and environmentally responsible aviation industry drives economic growth. And growth is what economies need to improve their state of health.
With best wishes for 2012.