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GENEVA: October 02, 2018. New research by the Air Transport Action Group says the global air transport sector supports 65.5 million jobs and US$2.7 trillion in global economic activity.

The report suggests two scenarios for the future: an open, free-trade approach that will support 97.8 million jobs and US$5.7 trillion in economic activity by 2036 or, government-created isolationism and protectionist policies that would mean 12 million fewer jobs and US$1.2 trillion less in economic activity.

Commenting on the isolationist threat of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit, IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said both the EU and the UK need to be far more transparent in discussing the future air links.

UA B787 900“The UK government’s papers on the air transport implications of a ‘no deal’ departure from the EU clearly exposes the extreme seriousness of what is at stake and underscores the huge amount of work that would be required to maintain vital air links. While we still hope for a comprehensive EU-UK deal, an assumption that ‘it will be all right on the night’ is far too risky to accept.

“In challenging political, economic and environmental times, the ability of aviation – the business of freedom – to sustainably connect cultures and spread prosperity beyond borders has never been more important,” he continued.

IATA’s August airfreight data shows demand rose 2.3 percent, as measured by freight tonne-kilometres, compared to the same month last year. This was unchanged from July but less than half the five-year average growth rate of 5.1 percent.

Noting “yields are holding up” despite a fall in overall load factor for the sixth consecutive month, IATA says Trump-led trade tensions “are a specter over the industry”.

Reiterating his warning there are “no winners in trade wars,” de Juniac observed: “The early focus of tariffs was not on products typically carried by air. But as the list of tariffs grows so does the air cargo industry’s vulnerability. And, we can expect souring trading relations to eventually impact business travel.”

ATAG executive director Michael Gill suggested the trend towards protectionism could be avoided through the growth of air transport: “By working with one another, learning from each other’s cultures and trading openly, we not only create a stronger economic outlook, but we also continue the conditions for peaceful interaction across the globe. Aviation is the key driver for this positive connectivity.”

ATAG is the only global organisation representing the entire commercial aviation sector through its Board of directors which includes Airports Council International (ACI), Airbus, ATR, Boeing, Bombardier, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), CFM International, Embraer, GE Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace, IATA, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and Safran.

This week United Airlines purchased nine B787-9 valued at a list price of US$2.53 billion - adding to four similar aircraft ordered in July. 

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