The Geopolitics of Air Transport
In an era of increasingly open markets and globalization, the international air transportation industry remains one of the most regulated and byzantine sectors of the world economy. The geopolitics of this regulatory regime can substantially manipulate and shape the geography of air transportation. According to Doganis (2010: 2), ‘any understanding of the economics of the industry must start with the regulatory framework which circumscribes and constrains airlines’ freedom of action’. One of the themes of this chapter is to articulate the fundamental tension that drives the geopolitics of air transport on the global stage. It will be argued that two regulatory regimes exist based on a liberal ‘open skies’ approach versus a more traditional, protectionist perspective, although the chapter will also stress that, in practice, this is not a simple twofold division.