As the world's aviation and aerospace community gathers again in Paris, against a backdrop of worldwide economic distress, it's a good time to ask if the industry's globalization has been as successful, and as worthwhile, as predicted.
For while the financial turmoil has been global, the remedies have been local, and some threaten to distort markets that have been opening up in recent years. No-one can blame a government for directing stimulus funds at domestic jobs, but when constricting budgets begin to drive decisions affecting industry, what happens locally now matters globally.
First the successes. Increasing liberalization has spurred airline competition and spawned low-cost carriers worldwide, creating new markets for products and services. It also has expanded the aerospace supply chain, as manufacturers see the cost savings and market access benefits of sourcing and operating globally.
The spread of wealth around the world also boosted international demand for business aviation, but as the last few months have illustrated brutally, the globalization of financial markets has exposed everyone to the effects of an economic crisis. Markets around the world are now in lockstep.
Thinking globally also has produced fundamental changes in how aviation addresses issues such as safety, capacity and the environment. If not yet gone, then the days of one nation devising rules and imposing them on the world are numbered.
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