In 2015, the IATA Financial Committee identified that becoming a High Performing Finance Organization (HIPO) is key to airlines achieving sustained financial health.

The HIPO Program includes 5 streams impacting different aspects of the airline finance function with goal of turning participating airlines into a HIPO.

The Finance function plays an integral role in fostering financial health within the airline by aligning the organization behind financial targets. For Finance to become high performing and be able to assume this critical role, it needs to embark on a journey that will take it from transactional management to value management. Value management enables the Finance function to be the airlines' trusted guide to sustained financial health via activities such as business partnering, decision support, and enterprise risk management.

Being a HIPO benefits both individual airlines and the industry as a whole.

For individual airlines, developing a team of value managers supports financial sustainability. In fact, according to the Organizational Health Index, High Performing Organizations in the top quartile have a 3-fold probability of delivering returns to shareholders, compared to organizations in the bottom quartile.

For the industry, having value managers in airline finance functions is a key enabler for a more efficient delivery of industry projects. This will be achieved via their active participation in IATA Working Groups.

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There is no reason that airline finance functions should appear less attractive to juniors and young graduates as GAFA (Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon) type companies. However, today, airline finance functions tend to be perceived more as controllers and costs cutters rather than value managers, and this image may have an adverse impact on attracting students and young graduates.

To address this mindset, IATA has launched the Airline Finance Internship program. By connecting high performing finance students from all over the world with airlines in search of top talent, the internship program aims to redefine the airline finance function from the ground up and highlight the industry’s attractiveness against GAFA type companies.

For more information on the program, download the IATA HIPO Internship Program Intro (pdf).

To join the program, you can fill out this short online form.

Airline finance is being transformed by new technologies and the business dynamics of a fiercely competitive industry. Though the traditional skillset will remain important, there is a growing need for value-adding activities that transcend number crunching. Finance professionals will be expected to understand and leverage technology and digitalization to improve efficiency, reduce cost, increase revenue, and enhance the customer experience.

The IATA Finance Academy aims to provide aviation finance professionals with the skills to take on tomorrow’s challenges by developing financial analytics and forecasting skills, building strategic risk and resilience knowledge, and understanding of compliance and controls.

Be a driver of this transformation and digitalization of the airline business, and help your airline become a high performing finance organization.

Find more information on the IATA Finance Academy.

Finance talent is leaving the airline industry for multiple reasons including lack of career progression, inadequate training and development opportunities and lower employer or industry attractiveness. This could lead to significant efforts and cost to identify new talent, integrate newcomers into the organization and train them in airline industry specific standards. In addition, this could impact airlines or IATA in delivering strategic projects or initiatives due to lack of resources.

Our goal is to inspire top talent to stay in the industry through programs that recognize performance and dedication while also ensuring that talent have access to personal and professional development programs, much like those found in the Finance Academy.

The IATA Airline Finance Professionals community on LinkedIn is complementing IATA’s annual World Financial Symposium. It aims to reach an extended audience to foster dialogue, exchange and collaboration on industry topics to bring innovation with speed and contribute to the accelerated delivery of industry projects.

The community is a space for Airline Finance Professionals from all over the world to connect, engage and learn from each other. Topics focus on the future airline finance function, what airline finance can do to attract, develop and retain talent, and how it can become high performing.

Join IATA's Airline Finance Professionals community on LinkedIn now to share ideas, discuss industry challenges and learn about best practices for aviation financial management.

The airline finance functions aim to reach organizational excellence and become value managers. However, today's criteria for airline organizational excellence are not universally defined, which makes it difficult for airlines to identify which areas they should prioritize. Today, industry finance functions are typically allocating more time to transaction processing (currently at around 65%) rather than to decision support (currently at around 12%).

Our vision is to see an airline finance industry benchmark based on comparison with other industries, enabling those IATA members who participate in the benchmark process to achieve improvement.