As IATA's director general Tony Tyler reminded delegates to the AGM: "Today, aviation is the life blood of the global economy. The industry supports over 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in annual economic activity. It creates jobs for Kenyan farmers who sell fresh flowers in world markets. It facilitates global supply chains so that workers in many nations can collaborate to build computers, cars and even airplanes. Aviation delivers many of the real world goods that are traded in the virtual shops of internet commerce. As a catalyst for economic and social development, aviation and the businesses that we support have spread prosperity and lifted countless people from poverty."
"The intangibles create even greater value. Flying brings people together—families, friends and business colleagues. It helps minds to meet and exchange ideas. It gives people the freedom to be almost anywhere in just 24 hours. And it has turned our wonderfully big planet into a wonderfully small world of enormous and wonderful opportunities."
It's an important point and one that people don't remember enough - air travel can help ensure modern families leading modern lives remain in touch in a more 'real' way than through the internet or phone calls. They are great tools, but nothing beats face-to-face experiences.