Closing Airlines in Transition Debate

Global economies, and in particular the global aviation sector, have been hit by consecutive and indeed overlapping “winds of change” – the global pandemic, soaring inflation rates, recession, heavily indebted governments and companies, notably airlines and airports, sweeping economic sanctions against Russia as a result of war hostilities in Europe, and the makings of what will ultimately become a new global economic and political order. The question is whether we are not already in the midst of a tsunami.

The aviation sector had grown accustomed to operating within a stable post-WW2 global regulatory framework. And yet in the past years, governments across the world imposed an array of measures heavily impacting the aviation sector. Many governments recognised the strategic value of airlines for their respective national economy and provided state aids to help them overcome the absence of a functioning market.

Consequently, the long list of economic sanctions imposed on Russia include the closure of airspace by the USA, Canada, the EU and many other countries for overflights and operations by Russian airlines. Is it reasonable to assume that governments across the world would, in the near future, once again seek to internationally align aviation-related measures with each other so as to facilitate planning stability?

And will aviation, in a probable scenario of ongoing mistrust between Russia and its political allies on the one hand, and the rest of the world on the other, be able to function as a market in a post-war era determined by national debts, military expenditures and woefully underfinanced airlines? Who will fund the urgently required investments into interoperable technology, cybersecurity and climate change mitigation measures?

The aviation sector will once again emerge stronger from these crises. This will, however, depend on conditions which need to be clearly identified and expressed compellingly and consistently by the entire aviation sector in the years to come.

Moderator: Aviation Strategy & Concepts
, Managing Director, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus

  • CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Chairman Emeritus, Peter Harbison
  • CNN, Anchor, Richard Quest
  • Extensity Consulting, Director, Andy Knill
  • Gramercy Associates, Managing Director, Tony Davis
  • IATA, Director General, Willie Walsh (virtual)

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