Corrected to amend incorrect quote from Akbar Al Baker on regulators. 16.33, 12 June.

Governments are possibly the biggest impediment to the growth of the industry, panellists at a forum comprising airline chief executives pointed out here yesterday.

High taxes on fuel, the EU's emissions trading system, airport charges, restrictions on open skies and regulations that prevent investment from foreign airlines were all issues that the panellists brought up.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said that while his government recognises that "aviation plays an important role" in the development of the country, there are some western governments that want to restrict access and impose taxes.

"There is no doubt that western governments should help their aviation industry. It helps create jobs, boosts tourism and promotes trade and industry," he says.

"Regulators think the sun shines through their assholes..and it is time for them to sit down and let airlines get on with their business," he adds.

Thai Airways president Piyasvasti Amranand adds that governments should also stop giving preferential treatment to certain airlines. "If everyone is treated equally badly, that is okay. But if someone is treated better than others, that is not good. And that is a very tough situation in an industry with very thin margins.

Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar says that while many governments understand that aviation is important, they fail to remove unhelpful regulations and are even slower to admit when some of them are clearly wrong. "The closest thing to immortality is government regulations. They just don't go away," he adds.

Source: Flight Daily News