04 March 2007

Jacques Barrot - Wily politicial EU Commissioner for Transport

I would like to applaud Commissioner Barrot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Barrot) for his efforts in getting at least some semblance of a deal together between Europe and the USA. This has indeed been a tough point as there are so many political aims that conflict.

Conside the huge mountains that have to be crossed to get 27 countries on the EU side to give up bilaterlism as well as the USA to overcome the conflicted Executive and Legilative arms of Government. So while the deal itself seems small it represents a structural shift that is without doubt one of the biggest changes made in Air Transportation regulation since the setting up of ICAO and IATA. And it comes not a moment too soon.

The deal is not out of the woods and I expect this will take at least a year to enact fully probably longer in the case of the US and UK. It may not come soon enough for Virgin America whose future is languishing while deliveries of its A320s rack up - straight to the parking garage. The Transatlantic is one of the most heavily travelled set of air routes in the world. Long term government protectionism is a concept whose time has come - and gone. As the airways and airports become an increasingly scarce commodity opening up to the free market the ownership and control of the Air Space users is the right thing to do.

Jacques Barrot has been written off several times in his career. However he is one of the most skilled politicians I have observed in many years. His negotiating skills are unparalled and he deserves a lot of personal credit for this success. I can only hope that he is able to continue in his job long enough for to see this become a lasting legacy to his position at the EU and for the benefits to trickle down to the market.

For further discussion and opinion please contact T2impact directly. timothyo@t2impact.com

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