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Ambitious sustainability targets are a must

The CEO Insights Panel is always a highly-anticipated highlight of the World Air Transport Summit and 2023’s edition was no exception.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO, Rwandair, John W. Dietrich, President and CEO, Atlas Air Worldwide, Greg Foran, CEO, Air New Zealand, and Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD, Air India, fielded hard-hitting questions from Richard Quest, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN.

Things began with a discussion of the aviation supply chain crisis, and the airline leaders expressed their frustration at aircraft delivery delays and the lack of spare parts. Shifting gears a bit, there was agreement that more fuel-efficient aircraft than today’s models will be vital to the industry meeting the 2050 net zero carbon emissions target.

The panel accepted that achieving net zero by 2050 will be challenging, while agreeing that a degree of uncertainty is integral to the nature of any goal and technologies will advance rapidly.

What is certain is the need for the entire aviation ecosystem, including governments, to be involved. Only through the support of partners and the right policy framework will net zero be achievable.

In terms of technology, AI will perhaps have the greatest impact on aviation. In fact, Foran described it as “one of the most significant developments in my lifetime.” He also highlighted the potential of quantum computing.

Makolo talked about the immediate issues of African growth and diversity. She said that increasing air traffic will depend on open borders more than open skies, with visas still difficult to obtain for intra-African travel. As for diversity, change is happening. Although there is still a long way to go, the issue has been recognized and there is the intention to improve, which are important first steps.

> Back to AGM 2023 program

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