Aviation must be a strong voice for bordens open to trade and welcoming of people

2017 is shaping up to be a challenging year for aviation.

In January, Brent crude traded at double the low-point of 2016. Yields are deteriorating. The bright star is demand.

It is strong for passengers and improving for cargo.This year won’t be another record year for financial performance. But despite the tough operating environment, we expect airlines to post a global profit of about $30 billion.

Recent years have seen no less than a revolution in the airline industry. Almost every aspect of the business has been examined and optimized for efficiency.

Aviation activity supports about 60 million jobs around the world

Of course, there is always room for more improvement. But the industry today has achieved the resilience needed to remain profitable even in difficult trading conditions.

A financially healthy airline sector is important. Airlines are a big part of the economy. A year’s revenues is equal about one percent of global GDP. And aviation activity supports about 60 million jobs around the world.

Our four billion passengers will boost economies. Seasoned corporate travelers will seal deals that expand markets and create employment opportunities, while tourists will keep workers at hotels, tourist attractions and restaurants busy. On top of that, airlines deliver 56 million tonnes of goods to market. By value, that’s about a third of all goods traded internationally.

I am deeply concerned with the political rhetoric coming from certain quarters

Through all of this activity, airlines have facilitated the globalized world in which we live. Aviation is the business of freedom. Air transport liberates people to live better lives and makes our world a better place.

So I am deeply concerned with the political rhetoric coming from certain quarters. It points to a future of restricted borders and protectionism. We see it in travel bans, border walls and trade agreements that are being called into question. 

These moves are a repudiation of the building blocks of globalization—an economic and social revolution that has helped lift over a billion people from poverty. The world has grown wealthier with people traveling and trading.  

Aviation is proud of the role it plays in making this happen. We must be forceful in the face of any challenges to this truth.

Aviation links economies and connects people. That’s more important today than ever. As an industry we must be a strong voice for borders that are open to trade and welcoming of people.