The International Air Cargo Association has called for liberalisation of the air cargo industry to provide quick and efficient global supply chains.
Secretary general Daniel Fernandez said it was time to remove a bilateral system that was stuck in the past.
In a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) USA 2011 conference in San Francisco, he said: “We believe that countries should view air routes as highways in the sky, a competitive public good every bit as important as surface transport infrastructure,” he said.
“Under a fully liberalised aviation environment, numerous new international highways in the sky are possible which would markedly improve the speed and accessibility of a nation’s businesses to their global suppliers and customers. In so doing, the competitiveness of a nation’s businesses will increase, more foreign direct investment will be attracted and economic development promoted.”
Airfreight and integrated air express were critical to time-based competition and allowed large pools of labour to connect with the needs of wealthy Western European, North American and North East Asian markets.
“In addition to the apparel and electronics industries, for example, air cargo has allowed otherwise remote agricultural regions to access world markets. As a result, flowers, exotic fruits and vegetables are becoming substantial export earners,” he said.
“Prosperous local businesses have developed on the strength of this capability such as produce grown in Kenya that is picked and packed to the specific requirements of major supermarkets in the UK and arrives at the store just hours later, straight to the shelf. Using traditional ocean transport, exporters in most developing countries are at a considerable shipping time disadvantage compared to domestic producers. Air cargo goes a long way towards levelling the temporal playing field for developing country producers.”