Commercial aviation opens an era with new challenges ahead
IATA's 78th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit was held in Doha, Qatar from June 19-21. 1,000 airline executives, government officials, stakeholders and strategic partners discussed hot topics
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) organized the 78th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS) with Qatar Airways as the host airline.
The event took place from June 19-21 and attracted top industry leaders from IATA's 290 member airlines, as well as top government officials, strategic partners, equipment suppliers and the media.
“Doha became the world capital of aviation. Airlines are simultaneously recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, blazing a trail to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, working to improve gender diversity, and adapting to a geopolitical environment that is experiencing its greatest impact in three decades. ”, said Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “It is an absolute privilege to have hosted our industry partners in the hometown of Qatar Airways, particularly during our milestone 25 years of operations. Meeting face-to-face gives us the opportunity to discuss the lessons learned from our past years during the pandemic, the global issues that affect us all here and now, and plan the best way forward for the industry.”
World Air Transport Summit
WATS opened immediately after the AGM. A highlight has been the third edition of the Diversity and Inclusion Awards sponsored by Qatar Airways. These awards recognize organizations and individuals who are making a difference by helping to drive the industry's 25by2025 initiative to make the aviation industry more gender balanced.
WATS also featured the popular CEO Insights Panel moderated by CNN's Richard Quest and featuring Avianca CEO Adrian Neuhauser, KLM CEO Pieter Elbers, Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways and Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka. Australia.
In addition to the industry's updated economic outlook, key topics discussed included: the war in Ukraine and its implications for a globalized world, the challenges of achieving sustainability, allocating scarce airport capacity, and ensuring the safe transportation of batteries. lithium.
This has been the fourth AGM held in the Middle East. “Since we were last in Doha, the region has only grown in importance to global connectivity. According to the most recent figures, the region's airlines represent 6.5% of world international passenger traffic and 13.4% of cargo movements. Much of this growth has occurred in the Gulf region, as typified by our host airline,” said Walsh.
Clear signs of recovery
IATA announced an update to its outlook for the financial performance of the airline industry in 2022 as the pace of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis accelerates. Forecast highlights include:
- Industry losses are expected to narrow to -$9.7 billion (better than the October 2021 forecast of a $11.6 billion loss) for a net loss margin of -1.2%. That's a big improvement over losses of $137.7 billion (-36.0% net margin) in 2020 and $42.1 billion (-8.3% net margin) in 2021.
- Industry-wide profitability in 2023 appears to be within reach and North America is already expected to generate a profit of $8.8 billion in 2022.
- Efficiency gains and improved yields are helping airlines cut losses even as labor and fuel costs rise (the latter driven by a +40% increase in the global price of oil and a growing expansion of crack this year).
- The industry's optimism and commitment to reducing emissions is evident in the expected net delivery of more than 1,200 aircraft in 2022.
- Strong pent-up demand, the lifting of travel restrictions in most markets, low unemployment in most countries and expanding personal savings are fueling a resurgence in demand that will see passenger numbers reach 83% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
- Despite economic challenges, cargo volumes are expected to reach a record 68.4 million tons in 2022.
“Airlines are resilient. People are flying in increasing numbers. And cargo is doing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty. Losses will narrow to $9.7 billion this year and profitability is on the horizon for 2023. It is a time for optimism, even if there are still cost challenges, particularly fuel, and some lingering restrictions in some key markets.” said Willie. Walsh, IATA Director General.