Full text of Alexandre de Juniac Remarks at IATA Global Media Days

(By EurAsia Info, Geneva: 11 December 2019 )
Remarks by the Alexandre de Juniac Director General & CEO of the International Air Transport Association At the IATA Global Media Days

Good morning. Welcome to our home in Geneva. I know for many this is not your first time, so I’d like to thank you for your continuing interest in IATA’s activities. And for those who are new to this event, I hope it will be the first of many such visits.

IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines. Our 290 members represent 82% of total traffic. Among them you will find airlines of every size and business model. Together, they are vital to the important work of linking people and economies. IATA’s role is to support that critical activity with global standards, advocacy and services. As you will see over the next two days, IATA is involved in almost every aspect of the business—outside of the purely commercial. I don’t need to remind you that it is an intensely competitive industry—with passengers and shippers benefitting greatly from this.

This year, 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. That’s more than double the number of routes that were available in 1998.

Flying is becoming more affordable. The average return fare in 2019 before surcharges and tax is forecast to be 62% lower than in 1998, after adjusting for inflation.

This means that young people in emerging economies are exposed to travel opportunities that their parents could only have dreamed of at the same age. And this opens a world of possibilities to experience other places and cultures, to learn, to find employment, or to make global connections.

Travelers can also fly with confidence, because aviation is the safest form of long-distance travel the world has known.

Simply put, flying is freedom. That freedom grows prosperity and changes people’s lives for the better—even if they don’t fly. And access to that freedom is greater than it has ever been.

There are some forces in this world today that are working against that freedom. IATA has and will continue to take a strong stance that we are better off with borders that are open to people and to trade. Trade wars produce no winners. And 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 an industry with a mission to bring people closer as a global community.

On 7 December we marked 75 years since the signing of the Chicago Convention, which sets the basic framework for civil aviation. Even as the Second World War raged, the signatories of the Chicago Convention understood the unique role of aviation. And they expressly noted that its development “can greatly help to create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world.”

A few months later—on 19 April 1945—the airlines of the world came together with a similar vision. And they created an association—the International Air Transport Association. Over the nearly 75 years since IATA was founded, we have sought to represent, lead and serve the airline industry with the goal of safe, efficient and sustainable services. That mission is as relevant today as it was when we began.

In 1945 some nine million people traveled by air. Today we transport that same number, on average, every 18 hours. Together with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) we have made flying integral to modern life.

Flying’s vital role is recognized in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Aviation plays a part in achieving 15 of the 17, indicating the fundamental relevance of this industry to addressing humankind’s toughest challenges.

But as with any human activity there is an environmental impact. Aircraft burn fuel and that releases carbon. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, aviation is responsible for 2% of global manmade carbon emissions.

As the world focuses on cutting carbon to avoid a climate calamity, all industries need to step up. Aviation made serious climate action commitments in 2008—long before the word Flyskam entered our vocabulary.

  • We committed to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% annually between 2009 and 2020. We are achieving 2.3%.
  • We committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020. And the ICAO Assembly confirmed its resolve to make a success of CORSIA—the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. It is the global measure that will enable us to cap net emissions and it will generate some $40 billion in climate funding over the lifetime of the scheme.
  • And we committed to cut our emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050 which aligns aviation with the Paris agreement. Industry experts are collaborating through the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) to map out how we will achieve this based on realistic technology and policy solutions. Moreover, at our strong instigation, governments, through ICAO, are now looking to set their own long-term goal for emissions reduction.

We can and should be proud of this progress. But there is still more work to do.

First, we need to make sure that CORSIA is successful and not compromised by a patchwork of competing taxes and charges.

Second, we must get governments to focus on driving the technology and policy solutions that will 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%.

Finally, we need to support these efforts with effective communication, so that people and governments are fully aware of what aviation is doing.

People are adjusting their personal habits to manage their individual carbon footprints. That’s a good thing.  It is our duty as an industry to ensure that they have the facts needed to make the right choices on air travel.

And let me be clear. Carbon is the enemy, not flying. Our goal is to keep the world flying sustainably and with pride.

I should also point out that we are doing our best to make Global Media Days a carbon-neutral event by estimating and offsetting travel and energy consumption. Once the calculations are made, we will add this to IATA’s regular offsetting activity with Climate Care,  which supports three carbon-reducing projects:

  • Lifestraw, which saves 2.4 million tonnes of carbon annually by bring safe drinking water to 4.5 million people in Kenya
  • Gyapa which has saved 3 million tonnes of carbon to date by making efficient cook stoves available in Ghana, and
  • Kasigau which is helping to preserve 500,000 acres of endangered Kenyan forest.

I will stop there, because as you know, we have dedicated a half-day tomorrow to an in-depth look at the environment and what we are doing as an industry to meet our commitments and responsibilities. This section will be led by Michael Gill, IATA’s Director for Aviation Environment and Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group. It will feature a number of presentations from experts inside and outside the industry.

Safety and Security

As we focus on making aviation more sustainable, we are not losing sight of our other key priorities. You will be hearing more about these over the next two days, beginning this morning with safety and security.

When it comes to safety, the twin tragedies involving the 737 MAX aircraft are top of mind. The industry is continuing to learn from the accident investigations, as well as from the multiple and meticulous examinations into the design and certification of the aircraft.

While we do not have full clarity on the timeline for the aircraft’s return to service, I believe that restoring public confidence in the industry’s aircraft certification and validation processes requires a harmonized approach among regulators — and I certainly hope we can get there.

Looking out over the broader safety landscape, we continue to make strong progress on reducing the accident rate. The implementation of globally-accepted standards and best practices such as the IATA Operational Safety Audit (or IOSA), the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA), are all vital to this effort.

IATA’s Senior Vice President, Safety and Flight Operations Gilberto Lopez Meyer will update you on the industry’s recent safety progress later this morning.

Security goes hand-in-hand with safety. Security is the responsibility of states, but industry is a critical partner. Aviation is secure, but we always are looking at ways to make it even more so. Today, a lot of our focus is going into areas involving risks from cyber-attacks. Our Senior Vice President of Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, Nick Careen, will brief you on these and other security-related activities.

Of course, our passengers mostly associate security with what they experience at the airport checkpoint. Long lines and intrusive searches are frequently cited as one of the biggest headaches of air travel. We and our airport partners are always looking at ways to smooth out this part of the journey. Known traveler programs and the use of biometrics can be effective tools in this effort. Our annual Global Passenger Survey continues to show that a majority of air travelers are willing to provide more information about themselves if it results in shorter wait times and less unpacking and disrobing.

The Passenger Journey

The security checkpoint, however, represents just one segment of the overall passenger journey. At IATA we are looking at how to transform the entire travel experience. This process begins when a prospective traveler starts shopping for a trip on their laptop or mobile device and ends when they arrive at their final destination.

Airline Retailing

We’ll look into a number of these areas today beginning with airline retailing.

Yanik Hoyles, Director for Airline Industry Distribution Programs, will discuss how we are re-imagining airline retailing through initiatives like the New Distribution Capability (NDC) and ONE Order. The NDC technical standard is making it possible for travelers to have access to all of an airline’s products and services, and to compare their offerings regardless of where they shop for air travel online. Travelers are now also able to receive personalized travel offers, as they do from Amazon or Netflix.

ONE Order, meanwhile, will complete the digital transformation that began with e-tickets. It will replace e-tickets, passenger name records, and electronic miscellaneous documents with a single retail, customer-focused order. And we’re not forgetting about payments either. Today how a customer chooses to pay is a part of their overall shopping experience, whether via credit card, direct debit, or a PayPal or Alipay.

One ID

Moving on from the shopping experience to the actual travel, we see a huge opportunity to make airport processes more seamless. Today, the journey through the airport is often frustrating. You need to go through repetitive steps, such as presenting your travel documents at numerous points to verify your identity. This is time-consuming, inefficient and not sustainable in the long-term as traffic grows.

IATA’s One ID initiative is helping transition us towards a time when passengers can enjoy a paperless airport experience and move smoothly from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token such as a face, fingerprint or iris scan. Nick Careen will update you on our progress.

NEXTT

While One ID presents a huge opportunity to smooth out the passenger journey, more needs to be done to accommodate expected growth and evolving customer expectations. To address the challenges of future airports, we have partnered with Airports Council International (ACI) to create the NEXTT or New Experience Travel Technologies initiative. Together we are exploring important changes in technology and processes to improve the efficiency of what our customers experience when traveling.

This includes examining options for increased off-site processing, which could reduce or even eliminate queues. We are also looking at employing artificial intelligence and robotics to more efficiently use space and resources. A further crucial element is improving data sharing among stakeholders. Anne Carnall, our Program Manager, Future Airports will talk about this exciting vision.

Accessibility

The industry is also focused on making air travel more inclusive for all potential travelers including the one billion people who are in some way disabled. The number is set to increase significantly as populations age.

At our 75th Annual General Meeting, our members unanimously approved a resolution aiming to improve the air travel experience for this segment. We followed this up just a few weeks ago with the inaugural Global Accessibility Symposium, the first event of its kind addressing improving accessibility and inclusiveness in air travel.

While the industry has had standards for persons traveling with disabilities for decades, we realize there are still gaps and we need to do more, particularly in the area of safely transporting mobility aids.  Linda Ristagno, Manager, External Affairs will discuss our next steps.

25 by 2025

Changing subjects from our customers to the future workforce, we must remember that global air connectivity is delivered for people by people. We need a diverse workforce that has the training and skills for an increasingly digital and data-driven world.

It is no secret that aviation’s gender balance at senior management and technical levels is not what it should be. We will not have the capacity needed for the future if we don’t fully engage the potential of women in the workforce.

Earlier this year, we announced our “25by2025” campaign. Airlines pledging to 25by2025 undertake to increase female representation at senior and under-represented levels to a minimum of 25% or by 25% from current levels, by 2025.

Response by our members has been enthusiastic and supportive, and momentum continues to grow. Jane Hoskisson, Director, Learning & Development, will provide an update on the growing support for this campaign across the industry.

Outlook

I will close this portion of my remarks with a brief comment on the industry’s financial performance. As I said at the beginning, aviation is an amazing industry. We support $2.7 trillion of economic activity, equivalent to 3.6% of global GDP.

Yet in spite of all the wealth we have created for the world, profitability has always been a challenge. It is really only since the end of the Global Financial Crisis that the airline industry has achieved a stable stream of profits.

It is encouraging to see that we can expect 2020 to be a better year. But it is worth emphasizing the point that Brian has made about the airlines that are driving industry profitability. The contribution of the top 30 is absolutely disproportionate. There are many airlines struggling to keep revenues ahead of costs. And that is why we are so adamant to pursue policies focused on efficiency with governments.

A good example are the competitiveness reports that we are progressively publishing on European economies. These help governments plan to maximize aviation’s economic and social contributions by ranking important elements of competitiveness—cargo and passenger facilitation, infrastructure management, supply chain management and regulatory practice.

Governments have huge agendas, but the goal that brings diverse interests together is promoting social and economic prosperity. Aviation can help. And we can do that with greatest effect when governments take the right policy decisions on these key areas.

Brian also mentioned the challenges of the air cargo industry. The business is going through some tough times with demand falling in the face of the trade war between the US and China, the deterioration in global trade, and a broad-based slowing in economic growth. Tomorrow, the IATA air cargo team will take a deep dive into the outlook for air cargo and how we are working with other stakeholders to make air cargo more efficient for users and stakeholders.

With that, I am happy to take your questions.

 


Geneva: 11 December 2019

Source:by EurAsia Info