The International Air Transport Association has called on the new Obama Administration in the US to prioritise aviation as a catalyst to stimulate the US economy.
“Smart investments - not bailouts - in air transport will pay-off with jobs and boost other industries,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. In a speech to the Wings Club in New York, Bisignani urged the Obama Administration to go beyond the airport investments in the White House Agenda.
“The US air traffic management system is in desperate need of an upgrade. Airlines and airports cannot be efficient economic catalysts if we operate in gridlock. I urge the President to allocate the US$4 billion needed to get the ball rolling with the first phase of the long-awaited NextGen project that will create some 77,000 jobs in the US economy,” said Bisignani.
IATA also urged the Obama Administration to deliver broad policy changes in the areas of security, environment and commercial freedoms:
Security improvements since September 11 have come with a growing bill that now totals US$5.9 billion annually. Bisignani challenged governments on efficiency.
He said: “We spend billions on security with little data to support the actions taken. Governments have made minimal progress on recognising each other’s security standards. We need a system that is threat-based, risk-managed and cost-efficient, with mutual recognition of standards. Security principles must be a part of the corporate structure of all industry players. And governments must be accountable to show value for every dollar that is invested.”
Bisignani praised the Obama Administration’s intention to be a leader in addressing climate change and urged the President to support aviation’s global efforts to contain and reduce the 2% of man-made carbon emissions attributed to aviation.
“We need government leadership with a global vision. Governments must stimulate the economy with green investments such as biofuel research and tax breaks for new aircraft purchases. And they must remain true to the vision of Kyoto which entrusted the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to deal with aviation’s international emissions,” said Bisignani.
“The priority of government is to create jobs and restore the economy to health. In the US, aviation supports 10.2 million jobs and US$1.1 trillion in economic activity. Meaningful change in government’s approach to security, the environment and commercial freedoms will ensure that aviation plays its role as an economic catalyst,” said Bisignani.