The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the Canadian government to improve its global competitiveness in air transport, travel and tourism by working with industry to address issues of taxation and regulation, security and the environment.
Bisignani took aim at Canadas unique system of Crown rents as one of the root causes of weak cost competitiveness. Canada has good airports, but the $257 million annual Crown rent bill is an unnecessary competitive disadvantage. No other country in the world has such a system. It discourages visitors and encourages Canadians to start their air travels from the United States. Its time to abolish it, said Bisignani.
He also said that governments around the world are too involved in the industry and are preventing airlines from operating like other industries. Airlines need the freedom to consolidate wherever it makes business sense. Airlines that facilitate globalization are stunted national businesses because of government protection. The industry is structurally sick and traditional leaders like Canada will be challenged to improve competitiveness with change and innovation. Too often governments try to live off past glory by protecting the status quo and avoiding change. The challenge for Canada and governments around the world is to improve competitiveness on a level playing field that allows airlines to compete profitably like any other business, said Bisignani.
Bisignani also outlined a long-term vision using technology to allow passengers to be screened without time wasted in queues. My vision is for hassle-free tunnels of technology. Passengers would identify themselves with their fingerprint, biometric passport and bar-coded boarding pass on a mobile device. After a risk-level assessment, most passengers would stroll through a tunnel of technology that checks for all forms of terrorist elements without unpacking or undressing. Its in everybodys interest to use the billions being spent on security to make it more effective and more efficient, said Bisignani.
IATA is using this window of profitability to host Vision 2050 in Singapore on 11-12 February. Over 30 strategic thinkers will join me to look ahead with a mission to lay the foundation for air transport to have the technology and infrastructure to meet the needs of 16 billion passengers sustainably and profitably in 2050, said Bisignani. Vision 2050 will benefit from the inspirational leadership of Singapores Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and the competitive expertise of Harvard Universitys Professor Michael Porter.
IATA is proud to call Montreal its home and contribute to Montreals status as a global capital for aviation. The future for this industry is challenging. But I am confident of aviations future and of Montreals leadership role in shaping this industry, said Bisignani.
View Giovanni Bisignani's speech