As part of his address to the press during IATA Media Day in Geneva, Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA made a rare, softly political statement when he cautioned that the wave of “protectionist” populist movements which have spread globally will have a negative impact on travel, aviation and freedom.

“Aviation is the business of freedom,” he said. “In connecting our world aviation makes people’s lives better. It supports trade, creates business opportunities, facilitates the exchange of ideas, builds friendships across borders and develops global understanding.

“We must be concerned with the current ‘protectionist’ rhetoric which is gaining popularity and geographic scope.”

Alexandre de Juniac was careful to clarify that IATA does not take political positions, but made these statements as an observation of the negative impact on the industry from restrictions on freedom of movement.

“The job of IATA is to clear the way for success of te business of freedom–reminding governments of the benefits aviation generates, the policies and infrastructure it requires to be successful and the importante of keeping borders open for trade and welcoming to people,” he said.

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