Weak recovery from Covid-19 forces IATA to turn AGM virtual
IATA DG Alexandre de Juniac emphasised that this year's AGM is going to be one of the most important in the organisation's history with the global aviation industry going through its deepest crisis
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that its 76th Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be an online event. It has been planned to be hosted by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam in the Netherlands on November 24. All member airlines, invited industry partners/stakeholders and media would be able to take part in the event virtually.
The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in June, but was pushed to November with the expectation that travel curbs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic would have sufficiently eased by that time to enable a physical gathering, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac revealed.
However, with the possibility of relaxation in the Covid-induced restrictions looking bleak, the IATA has deemed it appropriate to hold the event virtually. It does not reflect on the hospitality of the Netherlands or the host carrier KLM, de Juniac asserted.
The World Air Transport Summit (WATS), which is held along with the IATA AGM has been cancelled for this year.
The IATA DG emphasised that this year's AGM is going to be one of the most important in the organisation's history with the global aviation industry going through its deepest crisis as a result of the pandemic.
The IATA doesn't expect global passenger traffic (measured by revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) to rebound to pre-covid levels before 2024, and global passenger numbers in 2020 are expected to decline by 55% compared to 2019.
The recovery in traffic has been slower than expected on the back of slow containment of the coronavirus in the US and developing economies, which have continued to be closed to international travel; decreased corporate travel with video-conferencing emerging more and more as an alternative to in-person meetings; and weak passenger confidence.
De Juniac hoped that the IATA AGM would be "a rallying call of resilience as we find solutions to safely open borders and re-establish global connectivity, ensure vital cargo lanes; and build a sustainable future from the destruction of the virus.”
The IATA represents nearly 300 airlines, comprising 82% of the global air traffic.