'Governments need to take responsibility'

Istanbul - The leaders of the world’s airlines unanimously agreed to a resolution calling for governments, airports and labour to take immediate action to help the industry survive the growing financial crisis. The resolution was made at the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 64th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Airlines are an engine for global prosperity and failure amongst them would send shockwaves throughout the world economy,” said IATA Chairman and TAP Portugal CEO Fernando Pinto.

The resolution comes after a recent spike in fuel prices that has led to two-dozen airlines ceasing operations or filing for bankruptcy. “Many more will not survive,” Pinto said.

The declaration made six specific calls to action:

  • Governments must eliminate archaic rules that prevent airlines from restructuring across borders.
  • In view of existing fees and charges, governments must refrain from imposing multiple and additional punitive taxes and other measures that will only deepen the crisis.
  • State service providers must invest to modernise air transport infrastructure urgently, eliminating wasteful fuel consumption and emissions.
  • Business partners, in particular monopoly service providers, must become as efficient as airlines are now. If not, regulators must restrain their appetite with tougher regulation.
  • Labour unions must refrain from making irresponsible claims and join the effort to secure jobs in aviation and indeed in other industries.
  • In the interest of the global economy and the flying public, we urge authorities to enforce the integrity of markets so that the cost of energy reflects its true value.

“The airline industry is sending a clear message to governments, partners and labour. We are in crisis. Governments, labour and our business partners must understand this. And they must act,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO.