AMERICAS: Key countries sign aviation freedom accord

The European Union, the United States and six other countries agreed recently on an “agenda for freedom” for airlines that could open the way for mergers and consolidation across the financially troubled industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the carriers’ global body that has long sought liberalisation for commercial aviation, said the non-binding agreement […]


The European Union, the United States and six other countries agreed recently on an “agenda for freedom” for airlines that could open the way for mergers and consolidation across the financially troubled industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the carriers’ global body that has long sought liberalisation for commercial aviation, said the non-binding agreement was signed at a meeting it hosted at Montebello, Canada.

“This is historic achievement that will help set the foundation for a financially sustainable global aviation industry,” declared IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani. “One agreement will not change the world. But this is a strong signal that this industry’s future must be realised in a much more liberal environment,” Bisignani said.

Other signatories of the “Multilateral Statement of Policy Principles” — which IATA has dubbed its “Agenda for Freedom” — were Chile, Malaysia, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. Bisignani said that with the 27 EU member countries and the US, 60 per cent of global aviation was aligned with the key principles: Freedom to access global capital markets, freedom to do business, and freedom to price services.