Your Excellencies, Guests, Colleagues, Sponsors—Friends.
We have come to the conclusion of the 70th IATA Annual General Meeting—an important meeting at which we marked the 100th Anniversary of Commercial Aviation.
It is difficult to believe that in 100 years we have come from a lone passenger, one airline and a single route to the system of global connectivity that we make possible.
The work that we do together to move 3.3 billion people (9 million a day) and 52 million tonnes of cargo around the planet is no less than amazing. And we should be proud in reminding governments of the critical role that we play in driving economies, providing directly and generating many more jobs—some 58 million in total. It is important for them to understand that $6.8 trillion worth of good gets delivered to markets by air transport. That’s over a third of world trade. The social benefits of aviation --including international understanding, learning, and collaboration—play an equally important role as our industry unites peoples and minds.
The industry works together at a global scale. Through partnerships we achieve the global scale of connectivity that our passengers demand. And it is only by working together with our partners in the value chain and with governments that we are able to bring together all that is needed to safely dispatch and welcome home 100,000 flights a day.
The inter-connectedness of all that we do and all that we achieve illustrates the importance of a global mindset. And it is that mindset which, I believe, drives the success of your association.
IATA is about global standards to help you operate efficiently. Our goal is to understand your business—and use our global perspective to deliver value to it…to help you in what I know is a relentless struggle to keep revenues ahead of costs.
The AGM brings us together at the most senior level. And throughout the year we appreciate your support in the committees, working groups and task forces which drive our work throughout the year. And don’t forget that we are also local, at your doorstep through our hubs and field offices, the aim of which is to put people in close proximity to make IATA’s activities and services as simple easy as possible for you to access…and more importantly, for us to deliver what you need.
And that points me to my final and most important message—partnerships. By working together we can achieve amazing things. Look at our success on environment. We are united and forging ahead because we are working together with a common purpose and agenda. And it is the same for all of our achievements—making the industry safer through IOSA and now Enhanced IOSA, making the travel experience better through Fast Travel….and I could go on.
But just as we are closing the industry’s first 100 years by looking ahead to the next century, we are closing this meeting in anticipation of another year of working together.
By the time that we meet again next year there is a lot that we need to accomplish as an association. You have given us important challenges to keep your money safe, to improve the security experience, to establish a global approach to aircraft tracking, to make a step change in the efficiency of the air cargo industry, to bring the shopping experience into the modern era…and much more. We are up for challenge and will deliver.
But that it is a big “we”. IATA is your association. As your association we will lay the framework, remove hurdles, set the standards and facilitate consensus to deliver what you have asked.
And that is where the other element of “we” comes in. IATA as an association is as strong as the support it has from its members. As an industry we can chart the way forward…but often times it is our members who do the heavy lifting. And for that, I must say a big thank you. Even over the last two days we have received many commitments and inputs that I know will set us on the right track for another successful year.
A very real example of “heavy lifting” has been evident in the hospitality that we have received over the last few days here in Qatar. On behalf of all you, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Akbar and all the Qatar Airways team for their fantastic hosting. This AGM has been a truly special event.
Our many sponsors have also contributed to the event. We have recognized them throughout the program. And please join in a big round of applause for the tremendous support that they have provided.
I would like also like to thank, on your behalf, my IATA team that has supported me over the last days and worked hard with Qatar Airways, our sponsors and the speakers to ensure that this was a valuable event for all attending.
And my last thank you is for you…all who have attended and contributed to the success of this AGM. I appreciate the effort that it requires to contribute a few days from your schedule to the industry. I hope that you have had a valuable experience and I look forward to seeing you again next year.
As we continue to celebrate the Centennial of commercial aviation, one thing that has become extremely clear to me is that we are an industry of great people…doing great things with a global mindset. Together we have done something incredible—making our big planet into a very small and wonderful world. And that means a big future for us all. Thank you…and see you next year.