23-26/2017 Make trade, not war
California’s Monterey International Pop Music Festival (16–18 June 1967) took place 50 years ago this month. In retrospect it is considered the starting shot – or the beginning, to phrase it more peacefully, in conformance with one of the central tenets of the hippie movement – of the ‘Summer of Love’. San Francisco airport has put on a photo exhibition (to 10 August) commemorating the movement and its flower power philosophy, which opposed the US war in Vietnam, amongst other things, under the motto ‘make love, not war’.
This summer, in turn, has seen that US president who wants to ‘make America great again’ stir up the Middle Eastern hornet’s nest. Two weeks after his first trip abroad, which took him to Saudi Arabia, amongst other places, there was open discord between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, ignited by Riyadh’s and Teheran’s regional rivalry. You can read all about logistics developments in Iran, two years after the nuclear issue was settled and the embargo against the country lifted, in our special supplement in this issue.
‘All against one’ – Qatar – has been the motto since 5 June. Its only land border with Saudi Arabia was closed and the country can now only import goods by sea or air. At the time we went to press with this issue of the ITJ, Qatar Airways was only able to serve its hub through detours. It seemed to have adjusted more or less to the situation, bringing home stranded passengers and perhaps augmenting its short-term airfreight performance on account of the crisis. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker had to leave this year’s Iata AGM, held in Cancún (Mexico), in rather a rush and head home to manage the crisis. Which of the Middle Eastern airlines, which have grown so strongly over the past few years and which only just had to find a solution to Washington’s ban on laptops, could be particularly interested in the standoff?
Allow me to close on a brighter note – with the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, carried out by the British pilots John Alcock and Arthur Brown 98 years ago, in June 1919. It is also classified as the first trans-Atlantic airmail flight, as the unit had a few bundles of letters on board. Today, airfreight volumes carried on the world’s third-most-important trade route between Europe and North America amount to almost 5 billion freight tonne kilometres, with the trend pointing strongly upwards (+8.5%). Technology has made it possible – and free trade!
Enjoy your read – be it in-flight or on the ground!
Head of airfreight