The need for greater liberalization of international air transport

  • 11 November 2016

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has since its inception supported the freer flow of trade and investment across national borders. In this context, ICC supports a freer exchange of air services throughout the world, under competitive conditions transparent for all users of the air transport system.

With the rapidly changing economic environment brought on by trade liberalization, globalization and e-commerce, it has become increasingly clear that bilateral air service agreements, while they have led to steady improvements, can no longer of themselves meet the rapidly changing needs of airlines, users or the global economy.

The efficiency of air transport would be enhanced by creating more open markets and more flexibility with regard to foreign ownership. Because air transport is so important a facilitator of economic activity, its further liberalization would also allow sectors that make use of its services to become more efficient.

Many national governments are actively seeking more open markets for their air carriers. Regional economic arrangements, such as the European Union (EU), have removed economic constraints on airline ownership and operations within their borders. International agencies such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have become active advocates of air transport liberalization. There is much merit in pooling ideas and seeking a common approach to the issues facing the future of the industry and its users.