What’s Happening To The World? Is Liberalisation Doomed To Revert To Tighter Bilateral Controls, Ownership Of Markets And “Fair Competition”
Global aviation liberalisation appears to be approaching a crossroad. In Asia, where market growth is strong and new entrants proliferate, active liberalisation is occurring as governments tacitly accept less rigid market access controls. Open skies are also being promoted by more formal means like the ASEAN open skies treaty and bilateral relaxation by Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Latin America, often under the influence of US pressures, is generally liberalising, albeit with large exceptions like Argentina. In the Middle East, even some of the more conservative regimes are starting to perceive removal of controls on access as being a positive; and there are even signs of cracks in the defensive walls in Africa.
But in Europe and the US, where the original motivation for greater openness originated, a move to freeze change at turn of the century levels appears to be emerging. For the time being it has numerically limited support – from Lufthansa, Air France, Delta, American and United. All perceive their own best interests as holding back change. Yet these major “flag carriers” are extremely vocal and still have the influence with their governments to tilt the balance – or do they?
Much of the present pushback is directed at the Gulf carriers, but there is an associated undercurrent of resort to reliance on the “archaic” bilateral concepts formulated in 1945. Fifth freedom services, third country codeshare – anything that smacks of the least deviation from pure bilateralism and restrictive ownership and control rules is being flagged as being “unfair competition” or as distorting the “level playing field”.
This panel session reviews the situation in each of the major regional markets, where they are heading – and what is happening where they intersect.
• What is/should be the role of regulators in the process?
• The carriers of change: who has the vested interests in a changed system? Who has the greatest stake in the status quo
• Can the old norms – ownership and control, nationalism etc – seriously – ever be changed?
• Will the emerging power of Asia and the Chinese airlines change the way the industry is regulated?
• Do – or should – airports have a voice in the process?
Provocateur at Large: Aviation Strategy & Concepts, Managing Director, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus
Moderator: John Byerly Consultants, John Byerly
• Air China, VP & General Manager North America, Zhihang Chi
• ERA, Director General, Simon McNamara
• European Commission, Head of Unit, International Aviation Markets & Airports, DG Transport, Emmanuelle Maire
• LOT, Acting CEO, Marcin Celejewski