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15 September 2022

Face-to-face, at last!

Summer is slowly coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere where I’m currently located, and it’s been untraditionally hot and dry., But now as the calendar tells us autumn is around the corner, we are turning away from vacation thoughts and refocusing our energy on the tasks ahead.

I’m sure many of us have been surprised and reassured at the enormous surge in bookings since borders reopened. Airplanes are full and consumers are again taking advantage of the freedom to travel. At IATA, we’re also excited to see restrictions lifted, not least because it’s enabled us to bring back two of our most popular symposiums as fully in-person events.

The first is the World Financial Symposium (WFS) taking place in Doha, Qatar next week, followed by the World Passenger Symposium (WPS) in November in Bahrain. No more virtual events, no more webcams, no more “You’re on mute” comments – but instead, face-to-face discussions, allowing genuine interactions that are not limited by a screen, a chat room and a specific time slot. While technology has been helping us all keeping the business going during the time of crisis, in person will always be the preferred way for deeper and more sincere and fruitful exchanges.

Both events are looking into the future of our industry:

  • WFS will focus on reshaping airline resilience after the greatest shock to aviation in history. Airlines finance departments will have a key role to play in supporting the ongoing recovery while creating a sustainable capital structure to support our ambitious environment agenda.
  • WPS will be looking at how the whole value chain, from airlines to airports to agents to tech providers, needs to change and evolve to meet the ever-changing customers’ expectations by reshaping the industry processes to become customer-centric

Aviation played a critical role during the pandemic in delivering lifesaving medicines and medical supplies. And the world was a much poorer place when people were cut off from the freedom to travel. Now we are back. As our industry moves forward, we need to absorb the lessons of the recent crisis.

I’m looking forward to seeing and exchanging ideas with all of you in Doha for WFS and Manama for WPS.

Muhammad Albakri
SVP, Financial Settlement and Distribution Services

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