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A penetrating session on the Big Picture kicked off IATA’s World Air Transport Summit. The session began with a look at the key industry figures for 2024, and noted that, though airlines have done remarkably well in their recovery from the pandemic period, on average profit margins are still wafer thin.

There are many opportunities and challenges on the horizon that will affect the industry. Air Transport has always been volatile and will likely remain so. As one of the panellists noted: “The things we think are fixed are not as fixed as we think they are. It is a lot harder to project forward.”

Sustainability is naturally a major focus. Meeting the net zero by 2050 goal will be tough and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) will play a key role. The huge ramp up in SAF production required will involve all stakeholders. Although this is a key challenge, it is also a major opportunity to develop a new industry and provide new, skilled jobs.

Flying sustainably will be crucial as it was pointed out that demand in both passenger and cargo traffic continues to outpace GDP growth.

There are, of course, barriers to improved industry performance. Supply chain issues and geopolitical conflicts were highlighted. Airlines are struggling to get new aircraft and aircraft parts in a timely manner and the numerous conflicts and political tensions around the world could worsen at any time.

> Back to AGM 2024 Highlights

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