IATA urges governments not to single out aviation for taxes and regulations

Global airlines' body IATA today urged governments not to single out the aviation industry for taxes and regulations and to treat it as ''any other business'' reports PTI.

IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said one of its key messages to governments would be that aviation be treated like any other business and that the industry did not want a handout, but it also did not want to be singled out for special fees and taxes, and commercial regulations that chilled market creativity and initiative.

His statement comes just ahead of the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) three-day annual meeting and World Air Transport Summit which got under way in Cape Town today.

IATA counts around 240 airlines across the world among its members amounting to little less than 90 per cent of global air traffic.

Around 700 aviation leaders are attending the conference including chiefs of airlines and aircraft-makers. They are discussing issues like aviation safety, environment, distribution and financial sustainability among others.

Among the attendees are Air India CMD Rohit Nandan and Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal, who is also a member of the IATA board of governors.

Inaugurating the conference, Tyler said razor-thin margins were characteristic for the airline industry, but achieving profits with the continued weakness in the global economy was a major achievement.

''And if you add the impact of oil prices at over $100 / barrel (Brent), the achievement grows. Remember that fuel accounts for about a third of industry costs.''

Meanwhile, global airlines may be expected to report an industry profit of $12.7 billion this year, an increase from a previous $10.6 billion forecast, as lower oil prices and belt-tightening offset difficult economic conditions, according to IATA.

However, the industry body said, margins remained weak amid Europe's ongoing debt crisis.

According to Tyler the day-to-day challenges of keeping revenues ahead of costs remained monumental.

Tyler told Reuters Television, that on average, airlines would earn aout $4 for every passenger, which was less than the cost of a sandwich in most places.

Addressing reporters later, he said ''ancillary'' revenues and record passenger numbers were the two key reasons driving improved profitability.

Airlines would be expected to fill a record 80.3 per cent of seats, transporting an unprecedented 3.13 billion passengers in 2013, up from 79.2 per cent and 2.98 billion respectively last year, as operational changes and better capacity management filtered through.

Tyler said ancillary revenues would rise to $36 billion, or 5 per cent of total turnover, as airlines unbundled more services from base fares and charged for additional services such as meals, extra baggage and seats.