Doha, September 21 (QNA) - The IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS) kicked off in Doha in the presence of HE Minister of Transport Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti to discuss strategic topics relating to the aviation industrys financial outlook and its future sustainability.
Held under the theme "Reshaping Airline Resilience", the WFS 2022 is organized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and hosted by Qatar Airways, bringing together the largest in person gathering of the aviation industrys financial leaders since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.
The event will feature more than 50 expert speakers across the airline and financial sectors, discussing strategic topics relating to the industrys financial outlook and its future sustainability.
On this occasion, HE the Minister of Transport expressed pleasure at Dohas hosting of the 4th edition of the IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS), which brings together key aviation industrys financial leaders for the first time since before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HE the Minister noted that the IATA WFS will represent an exceptional opportunity to discuss the status quo of the aviation market, aiming to find beneficial ways based on innovation and creativity to address current and future challenges through enhancing close and fruitful cooperation among all parties.
His Excellency praised the huge efforts exerted by the IATA in uniting the world's efforts and working for a safe and sustainable air transport sector.
In a keynote address, HE Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker warned that the global aviation tourism industry would be at risk if the current economic and political conditions continues. In this regard, he referred to a number of challenges related to those situations and policies, such as high taxes, the lack of sustainable aviation fuel production, as well as improving fuel efficiency and energy transmission, and the lack of human talent necessary to manage aviation sustainability.
HE Al Baker added: "Not long ago, we all came together at the AGM to discuss the very pressing topic of resilience after the pandemic. Going through these unprecedented times has allowed us in the airline industry to come together more than ever before. In this mission, we must think of our future, not only as airlines, but the future of our planet by committing to our mission of net-zero carbon by 2050." Despite these challenges, HE Al Baker noted, air travel is showing signs of recovery, stressing the need to address the growing challenges and realizing the social and economic potentials o this sector. "As this sector recovers, our collective goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is an industry-wide collaborative effort," he stressed.
He underlined that the aviation industry is fully committed to achieving the net-zero carbon target and making it realistic goal, and airlines around the world were already taking a wide range of measures to reduce aviation emissions.
HE Al Baker meanwhile noted that the aviation sector should not be blamed as the main cause of global warming, explaining that it causes less than 3% of the total carbon emissions, while fuel production companies do not produce sufficient quantities of sustainable aviation fuel.
HE Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker shed light on what he considered main factors for supporting the recovery of the aviation industry and ensuring its long-term sustainability, including the optimum management of financial resources, the strong focus on fuel efficiency through the introduction of new systems and the development of existing systems to properly measure and analyze its impact.
He added that there is a serious shortage of human talent necessary to manage aviation sustainability, noting the need to urgently address this shortage by building pools of talent for administrative and professional resources in the field of aviation environmental sustainability.
He called for developing the appropriate infrastructure to keep pace with the demand for air travel.
On the other hand, HE Al Baker announced that the official opening of the expansion of Hamad International Airport will be in October, with which the airport’s capacity is expected to rise to more than 58 million passengers annually. The expansion of the final phase will begin in early 2023 to be completed within the next two and a half years for the airport to have the capacity of 70 million annually. He noted that these expansions are a vital part of the future success of Qatar Airways Group and the country's preparations to host the FIFA World Cup and beyond.
Speaking during a discussion panel, IATA Director-General Willie Walsh said that the current rise in oil prices will give no choice for the aviation industry's providers but to increase flight tickets prices.
In a press conference later, the IATA Director-General said that China's zero-COVID policy has costed Hong Kong its aviation hub status, in reference to the negative repercussions of the restrictions and closures that the world has witnessed due to the pandemic.
As the industry emerges from the greatest financial shock in its history, numbers indicate a rapid emergence from the pandemic following the removal of government-mandated travel restrictions over the past two years. Industry losses are expected to fall to $9.7 billion this year, improved from nearly $180 billion in losses over the previous year (2020-21).
As travel barriers fall in most regions, a recent surge in demand suggests a recovery to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels in 2024, with a possibility of achieving a profit in 2023.
At the same time, airline debts have soared as carriers borrowed to stay afloat during the crisis. Finance departments across the industry are expected to face major challenges as the goal to fly net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 approaches.
In its 25th year of operations, Qatar Airways Group has announced a record profit of $1.54 Billion for the FY 2021-2022. Highest profit in the global airline industry for the same period, 200% above its highest annual historical profit. Overall revenue increased to QR52.3 billion ($14.4 billion), up 78% compared to last year and a remarkable 2% higher than the full financial year pre-COVID.
Earlier in June 2022, Qatar Airways hosted over 1,000 delegates and aviation leaders from across the globe at the industry’s biggest annual event, the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS). (QNA)