Published June 4, 2014
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for airlines, governments, and industry stakeholders to guide the development of the commercial airline industry into its next century with a global mindset and based on a foundation of global standards.
“The key to unlocking aviation’s future potential is a global mindset supported by strong partnerships. Aviation connects people and business to make ‘global’ possible…Airlines must be profitable, safe and secure businesses,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, in his State of the Industry address to the 70th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Doha, Qatar (June 1-3, 2014). The meeting coincided with the 100th anniversary of scheduled commercial flight.
“Scheduled commercial aviation began with a single passenger on a 23-minute journey across Tampa Bay, Florida on 1 January 1914. Since then, aviation has changed the world immeasurably for the better. This year, airlines will connect 3.3 billion people and 52 million tonnes of cargo over 50,000 routes, supporting 58 million jobs and delivering goods with a value of $6.8 trillion. In a team effort of committed partners, aviation literally moves the global economy. And by working together with a global mindset, there is enormous potential still to be achieved,” said Tyler.
Saying airlines are expected to achieve a global net profit of US$18 billion in 2014, Tyler noted that the industry’s profitability had strengthened from US$6.1 billion net profit in 2012 and US$10.6 billion in 2013.
Tyler reiterated the industry’s commitment to working together and with governments in the constant pursuit of improved safety. That commitment is bearing results in aviation’s safety record. In 2013 there were 29 million flights with Western-built jet aircraft and only 12 hull losses.
Though the average accident rate for the 100,000 aircraft that ply the skies around the world every day is an accident per every 2.4 million flights, Tyler said “Flying is incredibly safe. And we are determined to make it safer.”
The Malaysia Airlines aircraft that disappeared from radar on March 8, 2014 and is yet to be found almost three months later also featured in Tyler’s address as he examined the safety and profit record of the more than 270 commercial airlines around the world.
“The loss of MH370 points us to an immediate need. A large commercial airliner going missing without a trace for so long is unprecedented in modern aviation. It must not happen again. IATA, ICAO, and experts from around the world are working together to identify the best recommendations for improved global tracking. By September, we will deliver draft options to ICAO.”
A global approach to improving security is also needed. “The industry is secure, but passengers still say that security remains their biggest travel hassle. Inconsistencies across jurisdictions defy understanding. The focus on prohibited objects sees law-abiding passengers treated with criminal suspicion. There is waste and inefficiency. We must do a better job. There is plenty of opportunity for the second century mindset of global collaboration–both among governments and with industry–to make a positive contribution to our efforts to keep flying secure,” said Tyler.
IATA is partnering with the Airports Council International (ACI) and others to change this. The goal of the Smart Security programme is to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and the passenger experience, he said.