TIACA calls on US and EU regulators to make all-cargo liberalization catalyst for new bilateral aviation agreement

The liberalization of all-cargo flights can and should be a catalyst to reopen negotiations between the European Union and United States on the TransAtlantic Open Aviation Area Agreement, according to The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) in letters to Norman Y. Mineta, the US Secretary of Transportation, and Jacques Barrot, Vice President of the European Commission with responsibility for transport.

The Association, whose members represent all participants in air logistics and produce combined annual revenues of more than $200 billion, says air cargo is the natural ‘first step’ in the process towards the full realisation of a single open market for aviation between and within both the EU and the US.

Daniel Fernandez, TIACA’s Secretary-General, says air cargo can be a lever that brings the two sides back around the negotiating table whilst also making a significant contribution towards the world economy. “The widening of market access by removing or reducing the constraints imposed on all-cargo airlines by the current regime of bilateral agreements is an urgent requirement for the air cargo industry - and in the best interests of its customers worldwide. Bilateral negotiations between the EU and US have stalled because of the complexity of liberalizing passenger movements. This is holding the air cargo industry back.

“Forty percent of world trade by value moves by air cargo and the industry is projected to grow at 6.5% per annum for the next 20 years, 2% faster than passenger traffic. Air cargo liberalization should be independent of proposals to liberalize passenger movements and is ready to be fast tracked. TIACA believes that the case we have proposed for the liberalization of all-cargo flights provides a template for the future liberalization of combination traffic rights,” he said.

TIACA’s case is based on the importance of air cargo to world trade. The industry plays a vital role in the global supply chains of manufacturers around the world and ensures consumer demand is satisfied for a diverse range of products such as high tech equipment, healthcare products, textiles and high fashion goods, spare parts for the automobile industry and fresh produce, include exotic fruits and vegetables, meat and fish.

Fernandez adds, “There is a fundamental difference between the two parts of the airline industry. Passengers usually return to their starting point, providing two-way business for airlines. However, for freight, there is no guarantee of any back load and many carriers find themselves flying to a third destination to find a load to avoid empty legs. With the current bilateral system, this is very difficult for all-cargo operators and this is why TIACA is calling for the separation of traffic rights.

“A successful air cargo industry is vital to the continued growth and vitality of world trade. The current system allocates traffic rights primarily on the needs of the passenger industry and is inconsistent with the needs of the air cargo industry. The separation of passenger and all-cargo traffic rights opens worldwide opportunities for economic development, creates optimal use of limited airport resources and alleviates over-capacity problems.”