Global airlines have warned against measures that restrict open skies at the wrap-up of an aviation industry event in Cancun, where security and a possible laptop extension ban were high on the agenda. Sonia Legg reports.
Open seas and open skies - global airlines have warned the latter must be protected. As the aviation industry wrapped up its annual gathering in Mexico, the message was clear. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEXANDRE DE JUNIAC, IATA DIRECTOR GENERAL, SAYING: "The most important thing that we have done is to remind governments that our industry is vital and we depend for our very existence, the economic and social benefits that we bring. We depend on borders that are open to people and to trade." But even as they spoke, the crisis in Qatar illustrated how difficult the challenges are. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have revoked Qatar Airways licences, cutting transport links with Doha in a diplomatic row. Security is an ongoing worry too - and the IATA cautioned against excessive restrictions on passengers. It's also written to the UK and U.S. to prevent any further extensions to the laptop ban. And then there's the issue of climate pacts. They hope President Trump's break with the Paris accord doesn't impact the airlines agreement. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MICHAEL GILL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AIR TRANSPORT ACTION GROUP (ATAG), SAYING: "The U.S. played a significant role in the negotiation of CORSIA, they have played and continue to play a significant role in the development of the technical standards and we hope and anticipate that that will continue to be the case." For their part, the airlines have promised to hold fast to their environmental commitments - and they should be able to afford to keep their promises. The IATA's earnings forecast for the industry has been upped by almost two billion dollars to well over $31 billion.