Aviation leaders gather in Beijing

Tony Tyler
Tony Tyler

Aviation industry leaders will head to Beijing next week for the 68th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit.

Opening on Monday 11 June 2012, the event will bring together 650 leaders of the global aviation industry for two days of discussions on key issues affecting the industry.

“Oil prices are high, although moderating somewhat from recent peaks. The European sovereign debt crisis is unresolved and we are seeing signs that it is starting to affect Asia’s export-driven economies. And the largely jobless recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis is proceeding at a glacial pace. Passenger demand is strong, cargo is weak and the industry’s profitability remains razor thin,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General & CEO.

Monday’s CEO Forum at the conference will feature several industry leaders, including Akbar Al Baker of Qatar Airways, Alan Joyce of Qantas and John Slosar of Cathay Pacific, while a session entitled ‘Doing Business in China’ will feature Liu Shaoyong, Chairman China Eastern Airlines, and Helen Wong, CEO of HSBC China.

Tuesday will see four discussions: Social Media and Air Transport, Value of Aviation, Commercialization of Biofuels and the Future of Airline Distribution.

Akbar Al Baker
Akbar Al Baker

“Beijing is a fitting location for this year’s AGM,” said Tyler. “It is IATA’s home in North Asia — the location of our largest regional office and largest billing and settlement office, with 132 million tickets processed in 2011. But even more importantly, China is a great aviation success story. The government’s strategy of using aviation to drive economic growth has seen China emerge as an aviation powerhouse.”

Half of the industry’s aggregate profits in 2011 were earned by Chinese airlines and the country now stands as the second largest airline market in the world with 300 million travelers and industry revenues of US$57.6 billion last year. It is also in the process of adding 97 airports by 2020.

This year marks the second time that the IATA AGM has been held in China. The first was in 2002 in Shanghai.

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