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The European Aviation Conference is now established as a premier conference in the aviation calendar. As in previous years, the 2015 conference offered a meeting place for experts in industry, academia and government to address key issues. This year the conference was hosted by the Centre for Air Transport Management at Cranfield University, UK, with assistance from the University of Westminster.

The Conference considered the future of airline liberalisation. For several decades the drive within the industry has been towards creating more free and deregulated markets, but in the current climate, some stakeholders seem to be pushing back against the view that free markets are best.

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Amongst the questions that the Conference discussed:

  • For whom are free markets beneficial?
  • Are there winners and losers?
  • What might future markets look like?
  • What constitutes a ‘level playing field’?
  • Are subsidies inconsistent with free markets?

Sessions devoted to these questions included speakers from the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, aviation economics consultancies including Intervistas, and several airlines including Delta and Emirates. The Conference also featured the Annual Debate - this year asking if the Gulf Carriers distort the level playing field. UNSW Aviation Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Douglas joined Assoc Prof Nicole Adler (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Prof Emeritus Jaap de Wit (University of Amsterdam), and Dr Bill Morrison (Wilfrid Laurier University) for a spirited debate.

The Martin Kunz Lecture was delivered by Prof Martin Dresner , President of the Air Transport Research Society.

Photo Credits - Keith Mason

Dr Ian Douglas
Senior Lecturer
School of Aviation, UNSWA