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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
AIR CANADA chairman, president and CEO Robert Milton gave one of the most thought provoking speeches for a long time at the Aviation Club in London last week. Best described as an ”industry veteran”, although still in his early forties, he has been credited with turning the airline around over the last ten years since initially taking on the leadership task as CEO in 1996. He challenged Martin Broughton of British Airways who in a recent speech in New York attacked Chapter 11 protection. ”Privatisation (UK that is) re-set the clock somewhat,” said Mr Milton, and pointed out, as he put it, ”the power of Heathrow!” His most interesting comments however concerned Emirates, sending out mixed messages. ”With all its advantages it is easy to understand how Emirates can be relatively immune from the strenuous objections of carriers like BA and Qantas amongst others”. However he also said, ”Rather than fighting over whether Emirates is operating in an artificial environment, the real question is whether the basic regulatory foundation of the airline industry, such as the Chicago Convention and the foreign ownership restrictions, need to be not only modernised ” but turned on its head”. He is chairman of IATA this year. Maybe he can do something about it but, rather like Tony Blair and his tenure as head of Europe (and ABTN hates to get into politics), changing the establishment is not easy. And speaking of the French Mr Milton attacked the Elys”e Palace and its punitive decision to levy a new tax to pay, it is said, for increased development aid for Africa. ”Why should airlines and airline customers bare the sole responsibility for this programme!” And that came very much with the IATA hat on.