PHOTO: Posters of President Assad overlook the departures area at Damascus International Airport

As part of Monocle 24’s series on aviation and geopolitics, I spoke to the radio station on Thursday about the importance of airports in a country’s politics and foreign policy, and about the difficult balance between security and efficient operations.

Listen from 51:07:

Beyond the military significance is the civilian significance: airports are a sign of your “advancement” as a political system and your legitimacy as a system or government. If you lose the capacity to operate your aircraft, either because you cannot maintain your facility or — as we have seen increasingly in recent years — because of sanctions, it’s a real hit. It’s an economic hit and it’s the loss of a political symbol.