IATA seeks less restrictions for Aviation industry
Governments should extend the aviation industry the same opportunity
like others in running its business especially during difficult times
like this, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Director General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA Giovanni Bisignani
said the aviation industry was not asking for bailouts, but just some
ease in restrictions of growing the business.
said in any other industry, the product could be exported easily. But in
the aviation industry, the product is a route or a connection which
needs to be preceded by an international treaty.
“That is the rule of the game which was set over 65 years ago at the
time of the Chicago Convention. They are not something that makes sense
today,” he told a media briefing here in conjunction with the upcoming
IATA annual general meeting (AGM) next Monday in Kuala Lumpur.
Bisignani said there were many cases where big funds from the Middle
East had come in to support and invest in banks, but this cannot be the
same for the airlines because many countries have a foreign ownership
limit of 20-25 percent.
“We are not asking for support, we are just asking for opportunity to
run this industry as a business. We don’t have that kind of freedom,” he
“At the moment, it is difficult for the industry. We are tied-up
because we can’t sell our products where the market is and we cannot
take advantage of international funding.”
Describing the situation as emergency for the industry, he said it
was time for governments to wake up.
Too often, governments don’t understand the role of this industry
which represents eight percent of global Gross Domestic Product while 32
million workers are involved, he said.
The AGM this Monday is expected to be graced by Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Najib Tun Razak who would be addressing delegates as part of the
meeting’s formal opening while Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew
would also be holding a special dialogue session.
“The air transport industry is once again meeting in crisis, this
time as a result of the global financial meltdown. We are honoured that
the Prime Minister and the Minister Mentor will provide their insights
at this critical time,” Bisignani said.
Asked why Malaysia was chosen, he said the AGM was held around the
world and this country made sense for the industry.
“Malaysia is a very successful story, and so is its Kuala Lumpur
International Airport, and the government is a with a leadership that
understands the industry’s needs.
“Malaysia Airlines is our host, Datuk Seri Idris Jala is on our board
and the airline’s strong turnaround is a great example and inspiration
for many airlines,” he said.
Bisignani said Najib also understood the needs and supported the
aviation industry, having decreased the airport charges in Malaysia.
He added that Lee was also a unique leader on aviation, as the
success story of Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport represented the
success story of a great country.
“A great airline and airport was instrumental for the development of
Singapore as a major economy of the world. It will be an inspiring
lesson for us, using history to look forward,” he said.
Although the last AGM held in Istanbul, Turkey last year was centred
on rising fuel prices, this time it is different, he said.
“Here we face demand shock where traffic is disappearing and cargo
has never been so down. Fuel is not a problem, because we are now caught
in the biggest recession after the Great Depression,” he said.
Bisignani said the AGM would also discuss on potential savings by the
industry and the efforts needed to get it done.
He said last year the industry celebrated the use of 100 percent
e-ticketing and worldwide deployment of common-use kiosk and check-in,
of which produced a combined savings over US$4 billion.
“But we are planning to implement activities to simplify business
that would save the industry over US$10 billion,” he said.
Another important issue is e-freight of which the aviation industry
handles about 37 percent of global freight value.
“It has less appeal than e-ticketing, but very effective because we
handle an enormous amount of freight and each freight is accompanied by
roughly between 15-60 pages of paper like Customs.”
“We are taking away the paper from the process, meaning we are
working with airlines, shippers, customs, freight forwarders. It is a
complicated issue but it can bring savings of about US$4.9 billion,” he
On the issue of climate change, Bisignani said the aviation industry
represented two percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) which IATA took very
seriously although it is a small number.
“This Monday we will show our achievement in a short period of time
in reducing Co2 via infrastructure, operations and economic measures.”
“We probably will have those 3rd generation biofuels registered and
certified by 2011, where planes can fly with jetfuels and biofuels
blended at 50 percent. We will show what we have done and what are our
plans for the future of the environment,” he said.
Bisignani said despite the bad numbers in the industry, its
environmental performance was improving.
“Our emission this year will fall by seven percent. Of that, five
percent is because less planes are flying due to recession and another
two percent is due to implementation of effective measures,” he said.
Virgin Atlantic pre-tax profits rise to £68.4 million
Virgin Atlantic pre-tax profits increased to £68.4million during the
last financial year, up from £34.8 million the year before.
The strong results cover the period March 2008 to February 2009 and
reflect an increase in the number of premium travellers choosing the
airline, as well as prudent management decisions taken during the most
volatile trading conditions in the airline’s 25-year history- where oil
prices peaked at $147 per barrel and subsequently dipped as low as $38
sales, including leading tour operator Virgin Holidays, rose 8.4 percent
from £2.380 billion to £2.579 billion. The total number of passengers
carried during 2008 increased to 5.77 million.
President of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson said “The last
financial year has proven to be the most volatile yet in our 25-year
To increase profits against a backdrop of such a severe recession is
an excellent achievement by all of our staff at Virgin Atlantic.”
Chief Executive,Virgin Atl-antic,Steve Ridgway, said “We are winning
market share from our competitors during the toughest trading
environment ever. With some of the lowest fares ever, consumers have
never had it so good for so long. Our load factors remain resilient as
travellers take advantage of these bargain fares, proving the value of
Virgin Atlantic also highlighted that the plans by BA and AA to
effectively merge are not in the interests of consumers. Both airlines
overlap on some of the most popular airline routes in the world - to and
from London Heathrow - and their proposals would mean less competition
on key routes, such as Heathrow-New York JFK, Heathrow- Boston,
Heathrow-Miami, Heathrow-Chicago, Heathrow-LA and Heathrow-Dallas Fort
Throughout the last financial year, Virgin Atlantic continued to
scoop many key awards for its products and services.
Its flagship Heathrow Clubhouse has won several awards for being Best
Airline Business Lounge; Skytrax and Business Traveller named the
airline’s Premium Economy cabin as the best in the air; while Virgin
Atlantic was also chosen as the Best Scheduled Airline to the US at the
Travel Weekly Globe Awards.
Virgin Atlantic will celebrate its 25th birthday on June 22 .
Paris Air Show wanes as Business Aviation venue
Look around at the 100 Anniversary celebration of the Salon Du
Bourget, better known as the Paris Air Show, and you’ll see fewer
business aircraft on display this year.
That’s because Paris, while having great allure and tradition, just
isn’t as cost-effective as a venue to meet with business aircraft
customers as newer specialty events, such the European Business Aviation
Convention and Expo [EBACE] in Geneva and the Middle East Business
Aviation show in Dubai, according to many general aviation
manufacturers. These two new signature events are draining enthusiasm
for participation at Paris by business aircraft manufacturers because
they target a narrow range of business aviation customers rather than
trying to be all things to all stakeholders.
One high level Dassault employee said the main reasons that Dassault
still exhibits business aircraft at Paris, such as Falcon 7X, 2000LX and
900LX, are tradition and image rather than bottom line results.
EBACE produces considerably better results for the Falcon Jet product
line than Paris, according to the same source, but it just wouldn’t be
proper for Dassault not to exhibit its full lines of both civil and
military aircraft on home turf.
Smaller European business aircraft firms, such as Daher-SOCATA,
Piaggio and Vulcanair, continue to exhibit at Paris. And Bombardier,
Hawker Beechcraft and Embraer will have a business aviation presence at
But, don’t think that Cessna’s and Gulfstream’s pulling out of the
Paris Air Show is an anomaly. As EBACE and MEBA, along with NBAA, and
other business aviation specialty events continue to grown in
importance, it’s been at the expense of the Paris Air Show and other
huge, broad scale air shows. Paris is nearly unbeatable as a sales forum
for commercial airline and military customers. It’s one of the few big
events where potential customers can see the equipment in which they’re
However, business aviation customers have many other events where
they not only see, but they can touch and fly airplanes they might buy
without having to thread their way through two hours of road traffic
twice per day and weave through throngs of people collecting souvenirs.
And it’s not unusual to spend upwards of a million dollars to
participate in the Paris Air Show if you’re taking a fleet of
demonstrator aircraft from outside Europe, plus flight and cabin crews,
along with sales and support staff.
Count the number of business aircraft at this year’s Paris Air Show
and compare it to the 2005 and 2007 gatherings. You may see a trend