The IATA World Financial Symposium kicked off at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel this week under the patronage of Minister of Transport, HE Jassim Bin Saif Al Sulaiti.

The two-day symposium featured over 50 expert speakers across the airline and financial sectors, discussing strategic topics relating to the industry’s financial outlook and future sustainability.

HE Jassim Bin Saif Al Sulaiti said he is pleased that Doha is hosting the 4th edition of the IATA symposium, which brings together key leaders from the aviation industry for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The symposium represents an exceptional opportunity to discuss the status quo of the aviation market, aiming to find beneficial ways based on innovation and creativity to address current and future challenges, enhancing close and fruitful cooperation among all parties.

Gathering of industry experts

On the first day of the conference, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar Al Baker delivered an inspiring keynote address in front of the largest in-person gathering of the aviation industry’s financial leaders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

HE Akbar Al Baker said that not long ago, they all came together at the AGM to discuss the very pressing topic of resilience after the pandemic.

Going through these unprecedented times has allowed us in the airline industry to come together more than ever before. In this mission, we must think of our future, not only as airlines, but the future of our planet by committing to our mission of net-zero carbon by 2050.

Other speakers from the global aviation industry include:

  • IATA Director General Willie Walsh
  • Qatar Airways Chief Financial Officer Duncan Naysmith
  • Chair of the Industry Financial Advisory Council and KLM’s Chief Financial Officer Erik Swelheim
  • Head of Corporate Responsibility of Lufthansa Group Caroline Drischel
  • Iberia Head of Sustainability
  • Teresa Parejo
  • IATA Senior VP Financial Settlement and Distribution Services Muhammad Albakri
  • IATA Chief Economist Marie Owens Thomsen

Emergence from pandemic

As the industry emerges from the greatest financial shock in its history, numbers indicate a rapid emergence from the pandemic following the removal of government-mandated travel restrictions over the past two years.

Industry losses are expected to fall to US$9.7 billion this year, improved from nearly US$180 billion in losses over the previous year (2020-2021). As travel barriers fall in most regions, a recent surge in demand suggests a recovery to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels in 2024, with a possibility of achieving profit in 2023.

At the same time, airline debts soared as carriers borrowed to stay afloat during the crisis. Finance departments across the industry are expected to face major challenges as the goal to fly net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 approaches.

Qatar Airways Group

In its 25th year of operations, the Qatar Airways Group announced a record profit of US$ 1.54 billion for the FY 2021-2022, the highest profit in the global airline industry for the same period and 200% above its highest annual historical profit. Their overall revenue increased to QAR52.3 billion (US$ 14.4 billion), up 78% compared to last year and a remarkable 2% higher than the full financial year pre-COVID (i.e. 2019/2020).

Earlier in June 2022, Qatar Airways hosted over 1,000 delegates and aviation leaders from across the globe at the industry’s biggest annual event, the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS).

Qatar Airways currently flies to more than 150 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport. Visit for more information.

Check out Marhaba’s FREE e-Guides for everything you need to know about Qatar.