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Flying vital for people’s connectivity and business — de Juniac

Industry dealing with forces working against it — IATA CEO

By Raed Omari - Dec 11,2019 - Last updated at Dec 11,2019

Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Alexandre de Juniac highlights the state of the industry at IATA Global Media Days in Geneva on Wednesday (Photo by Raed Omari)

GENEVA — The aviation industry provides better connectivity at affordable prices nowadays. However, several forces are putting pressure on the industry, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Alexandre de Juniac said on Wednesday.

Opening the IATA Global Media Days in Geneva, he said these forces include trade wars and the rise of nationalism.

Noting that flying is a freedom that grows prosperity and improves people’s lives, he said, “IATA has and will continue to take a strong stance that we are better off with borders that are open to people and trade”. 

“While respecting the right of countries to protect their borders, we believe that greater connectivity makes our world a better place. It is part of the DNA of our industry with a mission to bring people closer as a global community.”

On IATA’s global presence, the CEO said that the association’s 290 members represent 82 per cent of the total air traffic. “Together, they are vital to the important work of linking people and economies.”

He said that over four-and-a-half billion passengers and 61 million tonnes of freight will travel across a network of more than 22,000 unique city pairs connected by air in 2019.

“That’s more than double the number of routes that were available in 1998”, he noted.

“Flying is becoming more affordable, de Juniac said, explaining that the average return fare in 2019 before surcharges and tax is forecast to stand at 62 per cent lower than in 1998 after adjusting for inflation.”

Comparing how the condition of flying was 75 years ago when the Chicago Convention was signed with nowadays, the CEO said, “In 1945, some nine million people travelled by air. Today we transport that same number, on average, every 18 hours.”




The CEO explained that aviation made “serious” climate action commitments in 2008 towards cutting carbon — “long before the word ‘Flyskam’ entered our vocabulary”.

He added that the aviation sector has been  committed to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent annually.

With aviation held responsible for 2 per cent of global man made carbon emissions according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the CEO said, “We are committed to cut our emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050 which aligns aviation with the Paris agreement.”

However, the CEO urged governments to focus on driving the technology and policy solutions in a manner that can make flying sustainable. 

“In the immediate term, that means focusing on sustainable aviation fuels which have the potential to cut our carbon footprint by up to 80 per cent.”

“Carbon is the enemy, not flying. Our goal is to keep the world flying sustainably and with pride.”

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