IATA’s 70th AGM opens in Doha

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The 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and World Air Transport Summit opened in Doha, Qatar today. The event, attended by nearly 1000 people from around the world representing the aviation industry, was inaugurated by Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar.

Delivering the state of the industry report Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said the key to unlocking aviation’s future potential is a global mindset supported by strong partnerships. “Securing aviation’s future begins with some immediate challenges. Airlines must be profitable, safe and secure businesses. We need to provide efficient, customer-focused services. And sustainability must be integral to everything that we do.

The event, hosted by Qatar Airways from 1 to 3 June, will be the centre of air transport industry as its key leaders discuss some of the most important commercial aviation-related issues of the day: security, environment, distribution and financial sustainability among others.

“You will notice a very unique atmosphere at the AGM. IATA’s members come from all parts of the world and operate on a variety of business models. We have very large global network airlines. And we have much smaller regional airlines. They compete vigorously in what is a very tough business. But when they are at the AGM, they are focused on the industry and making the best decisions possible to secure its future success,” said Tyler in a press statement ahead of the AGM.

IATA’s 70th AGM coincides with the global celebration of the first 100 years of scheduled commercial aviation. The commercial airline industry began with a flight across Tampa Bay, Florida on 1 January 1914.

The AGM will include a number of key discussions, including a chief executive forum composed of Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways; David Barger, CEO of JetBlue Airways; Ivan Chu, CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways; Andres Conesa Labastida, CEO of Aeromexico; and Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group. The CEO forum will attempt to ask and answer questions like why is it that only a handful of airlines are able to consistently generate a positive return for their equity investors? What are the key issues set to drive profitability in the year ahead?

There is also another panel discussion called “Economic Shocks” with a focus on potential economic speed bumps ahead and how they could affect the air transport industry. This will be moderated by Brian Pearce, IATA’s chief economist. Panel discussions on Tuesday (June 3) will be on key industry issues and initiatives such as safety and aircraft tracking, reputation management, new distribution capability and government treatment of commercial aviation.

For the air cargo industry stake holders, the discussions will be around the impact of the global economic trends and how that is adversely affecting the industry. The summit will reiterate the urgency of the industry to work hard to improve air cargo’s competitiveness with process improvements. The goal is to shorten total shipping times by 48 hours before 2020. A key component to achieve that is the global e-freight program which aims to replace paper documentation with modern electronic messaging.

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