Published on June 3rd, 2016 | by Jim Lee0
Aviation Leaders gather in Dublin for IATA’s 72nd AGM
Leaders of the global air transport industry have gathered in Dublin, for the 72nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and World Air Transport Summit. Shane Ross TD, the new Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, will open the event and there with be a keynote address by and Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“Dublin is set to be the capital of the global air transport industry as leaders gather for the 72nd IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit. The airline industry’s most senior leaders will discuss measures to ensure the economic and social benefits of safe, secure, efficient and sustainable global air transport,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
A highlight of the World Air Transport Summit will be a panel discussion on the industry’s top issues featuring Bernard Gustin, CEO, Brussels Airlines; Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines; Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline; Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO, Jetstar Group; and Charamporn Jotikasthira, President of Thai Airways. The discussion will be moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest.
Summit panel discussions will also focus on sustainability and cyber security, with Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas, among panel participants.
The IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit, brings together CEOs and senior management of IATA’s 264 member airlines, that together carry some 83% of global traffic. Stakeholders from across the value chain will participate in the event, including leaders from governments, international organisations, aircraft manufacturers and other industry partners.
This will be the second IATA AGM to be held in Dublin, the first being in 1962. Nearly 1,000 delegates are expected to participate in the event being hosted by Aer Lingus at the Royal Dublin Society.
The AGM comes as IATA have announced global passenger traffic data for April showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose by 4.6% – the slowest pace since January 2015. April capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 4.9%, and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage points to 79.1%.
The disruptive impact of the Brussels Airport attack weighed on the April figures. IATA estimates that, excluding the impact of the attacks, demand growth would have been around 5%. European carriers saw demand rise just 1.8% in April, which was well down on the 6.0% growth recorded in March. Capacity climbed 2.4% and load factor slipped 0.5% percentage points to 80.2%, which still was the highest among the regions.
“The disruptive impacts of the Brussels terror attacks likely will be short-lived. There are some longer-term clouds over the pace of demand growth. The stimulus from lower oil prices appears to be tapering off. And the global economic situation is subdued. Demand is still growing, but we may be shifting down a gear,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Demand for air freight, measured in freight tonne km, was up 3.2% in April, but Mr. Tyler said that was not a true reflection of the market.
“The reality is that demand is weak, as we see from global trade figures and there’s little to indicate an uptick is imminent,”
Mr. Tyler is attending his last meeting as director general of IATA, before handing over to Alexandre de Juniac, the outgoing CEO of Air France-KLM, will give an industry profit outlook during the meeting. IATA has previously forecast net profits will reach record levels of $36.3 billion (around €32.6 billion) in 2016, for a net profit margin of 5.1%, with North American carriers accounting for over half of the total.
The weaker passenger demand in April comes at a time when airlines are enjoying a boost from lower oil prices. However, weakening economies and falling ticket prices are also posing problems for a sector, which operates on low profit margins. IATA are fairly optimistic about Ireland however, forecasting that passenger growth will average 1.8% over the next 20 years, reaching 40.8 million passenger journey’s by 2035. Mr. Tyler’s comment’s on Ireland’s aviation industry can be found here.
Brussels will be on the minds of many of those attending the three day event, as will how to improve security, following other attacks on popular travel destinations such as Paris but Angela Gittens, director general of Airports Council International, has cautioned against the introduction of external checkpoints such as have been introduced in Brussels. ACI certainly do not want these to become part of a proposed global security standard for public areas, because the additional congestion could create a new target. There is also the extra cost of delays. Recently a US congressional panel heard that more than 70,000 American Airlines customers missed their flights this year and 40,000 checked bags failed to be loaded on scheduled flights, because of airport screening delays.
However, ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation), which sets standards that its 191 member states, has already discussed creating a new standard that could force countries to come up with security rules for public sections of airports and this is likely to feature high on the agenda at the AGM. In an interview on the proposed standard, Ms Gittens noted that “most airports were not built to have people congregate at doors,” Adding that “every time you stop people, you’re interfering with what airports were supposed to be doing. You’re trapping people in a line where if something did happen these people would not be able to scatter.”
Another key topic for discussion is how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the CEOs present will discuss proposals by ICAO for a global market-based measure to offset emissions.
On the first day of the AGM a special Media Briefing on Irish Aviation will be given by Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Executive Officer, Aer Lingus, Kevin Toland, Chief Executive Officer, Dublin Airport Authority, Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Aviation Authority, Conor McCarthy, Executive Chairman, Dublin Aerospace and Aengus Kelly, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, AerCap.