The International Air Transport Association (IATA) opened its 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Doha, Qatar today with some 1,000 industry leaders and media in attendance.
The meeting is being held under the patronage of the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who was present at the opening of the meeting.
The first order of business was the election of Qatar Airways CEO, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, as President of the AGM and a firm commitment by those present to use this unique forum to build consensus and chart the best path forward for global aviation.
“This AGM is very special for us. We are very honored by the patronage of the Emir of Qatar, who is a leader with a clear vision of the potential for aviation. This is the first time that the AGM is being held in the Gulf. The footprint of our industry in this region is large and growing. A key element of the region’s development is its aviation-friendly approach to doing business. The governments here understand the value that aviation brings as a catalyst for economic growth,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
While IATA’s 70th AGM began with praise for the success of commercial aviation in Qatar and the rest of the Gulf region, there was also a strong call for greater regional cooperation to address air traffic management issues. “In some ways, the Gulf region is a victim of its own success. The airline industry is thriving and the region’s airports are among the best in the world, but with both airlines and airports undergoing ambitious expansion plans, air traffic management has become an issue. Airspace is a finite resource and in the narrow Gulf corridor, space is at a premium. Maximizing efficiency is in everyone’s interest, but this will require heightened regional cooperation,” said Tyler.
Qatar Airways CEO, HE Akbar Al Baker and AGM President, said, “Recent months represent a period of significant progression for Qatar Airways, with our move to Hamad International Airport and the continued expansion of our young and growing fleet of aircraft. As such, this AGM represents the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the State of Qatar and its importance as a global aviation hub.”
The AGM is also an opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of scheduled commercial aviation while laying the groundwork to ensure the second century of commercial aviation is even more successful, innovative and beneficial to the world than the first. The two-day meeting will address air transport’s most pressing issues including: security, environment, profitability, distribution, infrastructure, unruly passengers, and industry reputation.
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