Member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization agreed to press forward for liberalization of air carrier ownership and control, enhanced air cargo liberalization and a focus on minimizing air transport taxes during last week’s air transport conference.
Representatives decided to press for a move away from state ownership of airlines and airports.
Members get together once a decade for the worldwide conference to discuss the organization’s changing goals for the aviation industry.
“It was critical, in light of the projected growth of our sector and its increasing importance as a fundamental driver of economic development and prosperity worldwide, that ICAO forge ahead on these new regulatory tools at this time,” Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, ICAO council president, said in a statement. “These concrete measures represent significant advances for ICAO, for the international aviation community, and especially for the world's passengers, airlines and airports.”
The members agreed to multilateralism in air cargo and are seeking the same for airline ownership, which, they reasoned, would create more equality in the industry and enhance competition.
“The transition from a framework of exclusively state-owned airlines and airports to one of increased competition and liberalization has been a positive one in recent decades,” Raymond Benjamin, ICAO’s secretary general, said in a statement. “However, we had reached a point where further action was required. The decisions taken by our Sixth Air Transport Conference demonstrate the global aviation community’s commitment to deliver increased international integration in these areas, but in a manner that respects and ensures a more level playing field, improved price transparency and streamlined consumer protection approaches.” - Jon Ross