Published on : Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Thank you for the kind introduction. It is an honor to present to the European Aviation Club.
This is my first visit to the Club, so I will start by describing how I see IATA. And then I will share some thoughts on Charting the Right Course for Aviation in Europe.
First and foremost, IATA promotes safe, efficient, economical and sustainable global connectivity by air. That’s reflected in our mission to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. And to achieve that, we seek borders that are open to people and to trade. It is natural. Otherwise, the positive impact of connecting people, goods, markets and ideas through air transport cannot be realized.
I believe that aviation is the business of freedom. Air travel liberates people to live better lives and makes our world a better place.
So we are deeply concerned with the current political rhetoric. It points to a future of restricted borders and protectionism. We see it in travel bans, border walls and trade agreements being called into question. These deny the benefits of globalization—a product of our industry.
Durable peace, prosperity or security have never been achieved through provocation, exclusion and division. The world has grown wealthier with people traveling and trading. That has helped to lift over a billion people from poverty. Aviation is proud of the role it plays in making this happen. And IATA will be forceful in the face of any challenges to this truth. Ensuring aviation’s power to connect people has never been more important.
Second, and linked to the first, IATA has a unique global view. And we bring this to all issues that we face, including at the regional level. Take Brexit as an example. Air transport has flourished in Europe with the single market. That has been good for everyone involved—on the continent, in the UK and well beyond. As the leaders of Europe and the UK work out their future relationship, the best result for everyone would preserve the connectivity that exists today and facilitate growth in the future. That will support prosperity for all parties.