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Editorial by Tony Tyler, IATA's DG & CEO

2012 will end on some positive notes. It appears that the year will go down in history as the safest ever for air travel. As of 21 December, no IATA airlines suffered a hull loss with a western-built jet. And, despite persistently high oil prices and a sluggish global economy, we see the $6.7 billion that airlines are expected to make in 2012 heading towards $8.4 billion in 2013. Efficiency gains from consolidation and restructuring are helping airlines to manage through the difficult times.

In 2013 we will redouble efforts to move industry net margins from the 1% range closer to the 7-8% needed to cover the cost of capital. And there are important opportunities in at least three areas:

  • The EU “stopped the clock” on its unilateral European Trading Scheme (ETS) plans and created the space for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop a global framework for market based measures addressing climate change. As an industry we will need to develop consensus on how to share fairly the responsibility and the cost burden.
  • The recently agreed foundation standard for a new distribution capability gives us a great opportunity to transform the travel shopping experience with modern retailing tools.
  • The renewed commitment on African safety—soon to be formalized with the AU ratification of the Abuja Declaration—is driving real improvements. The safety record for IATA's Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) - registered African airlines is already aligned to global performance and the target of world-class safety performance across the continent by 2015 is achievable.

As the aviation industry reunites millions for the year-end festivities the importance of global connectivity personally touches every corner of our planet. Keeping that firmly in mind, I look forward to a busy 2013 working with members, partners and stakeholders to drive innovations that make aviation safer, more secure, and increasingly sustainable—both financially and environmentally.

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