Successful Agenda for
Freedom Summit Concludes
Istanbul - The International Air Transport
Association (IATA) successfully concluded the Agenda for Freedom Summit. A
total of 14 nations plus the European Commission attended the weekend meeting
in Istanbul which focused on ways to further liberalise market access and
ownership and control rules governing international civil aviation.
“This has been an extra-ordinary year for airlines. From oil prices that
peaked at US$147 in July, to today’s global financial crisis, the need for
airlines to have the commercial tools that other industries take for granted
has never been more critical,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director
General and CEO.
The goal of the Agenda for Freedom Summit was to find ways to expand the
commercial freedoms of airlines, namely access to markets and to global capital.
The meeting did not set out to sign any agreements or declarations.
“The conference was a success. The states had a very frank and open
discussion on ownership and market access. We had gathered 15 of the most
liberal players in aviation policy and three key outcomes emerged. The
participants asked IATA to continue to facilitate this discussion with a
second meeting in early 2009 to turn the discussion into action. They also
asked IATA to facilitate the development of a multi-lateral statement of policy
that would be a powerful tool expressing the common thinking and approach of
the group of states. Finally, the group agreed to spread best practices in
liberalisation by making more openly available to all states the most liberal
agreements that are being negotiated,” said Bisignani.
Bisignani emphasised the need for states to act with urgency. “Look at what
happened to the banking system. In a week it became a state enterprise in
many countries. We have already seen the re-nationalisation of Aerolineas
Argentinas. This is not the solution that we want. We are not asking for
bailouts or more government involvement in our business. Governments have a
critical role in regulating safety, security, monopolies and environmental
standards. What we were asking for this weekend was simply the ability to act
like any other global business,” said Bisignani.
“The industry is in crisis and the message for change is critical. I believe
that our message resonated with governments. We have started a process that I
am confident will help to build a more stable financial future the air
transport industry,” said Bisignani.
The Agenda for Freedom Summit was a follow-up to the Istanbul Declaration,
signed by IATA’s 230 member airlines, which, among other things, called for
expanded commercial freedoms. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Jeffrey Shane,
former Under-Secretary of Transportation for the United States of America and
Partner, Hogan & Hartson.
Giovanni Bisignani's full speech
- IATA -
Notes for Editors:
- In advance of the meeting, IATA circulated a paper
among governments with some proposals that could be quickly implemented
to expand market access and access to global capital. A summary of the
proposals is available at www.iata.org.
- The following participated in the summit:
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, India, Panama, Mauritius, Morocco,
Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United
States of America, Vietnam and the European Commission.