The 70th International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit 2014 concluded on 3 June 2014 a high note after a series of successful rounds of deliberations, key resolutions, negotiations and agreements were passed.
The event held for the first time in the Gulf region was heralded as a great success by IATA officials, senior airline management and the international media who attended the three-day conference in Doha.
A unanimous resolution has been adopted by IATA members which calls upon governments and industry to work together on a balanced package of measures to effectively deter and manage the significant problem of unruly air passenger behaviour. Such behaviour includes committing physical assault, disturbing good order on board or failing to follow lawful crew instructions. IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Tony Tyler, said:
This resolution confirms the determination of airlines to defend the rights of their passengers and crew…everybody on board is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behaviour. Many airlines have trained both ground staff and cabin crew in procedures not only to manage incidents of unruly behavior but also in measures to prevent them. But a robust solution needs alignment among airlines, airports, and governments.’
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, HE Akbar Al Baker, who is the President of this year’s IATA AGM, led more than 1,000 airline leaders and delegates for three days of engaging discussion and debate. Al Baker said:
This meeting has enabled and facilitated the discussion of key resolutions and reforms within our industry, all for the benefit of the passengers we serve, such as yesterday’s unanimous agreement on tackling unruly passenger behaviour. As one of the fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways will move toward a pre-emptive solution and ensure to involve all stakeholders in stemming the problem of unruly passenger behaviour.’
The IATA AGM is the only aviation meeting where such a large number of member airlines meet to discuss issues and strategies that strengthen the industry. This year’s event will be particularly significant as the aviation industry is celebrating 100 years since the first scheduled commercial flight.
The opening press briefing of the 7oth IATA AGM, which opened on 1 June 2014 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha, was attended by around 200 media comprising of both international and local press. The head table delegation who addressed the media included IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler, Qatar Airways CEO and President of the 70th IATA AGM, HE Akbar Al Baker, and IATA’s Vice President Corporate Communications, Tony Concil. Key points discussed during the opening sessions and press briefing included the challenges, safety and security aspects, and the infrastructure issues facing the aviation industry.
During a closing press briefing on the last day of the AGM, Qatar Airways was recognised for its innovation in passenger comfort by being awarded the Fast Travel Green Award by IATA. Addressing the visiting delegates, Al Baker said:
Qatar Airways is immensely proud to have hosted this year’s IATA AGM. It was just one year ago in Cape Town that we gathered for this Forum, and now the 70th IATA AGM has finally become a reality being held in Doha and the Gulf Region for the very first time. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have all the senior aviation representatives in Doha and we sincerely hope the agreements and resolutions passed will help in further strengthening our industry. With the expansion of the aviation industry and the ever-growing aircraft manufacturing sector, we have together made travel easily accessible for the masses. Together we have opened up borders and air bridges making ways for enriched business and cultural exchanges. Qatar Airways is a strong supporter of IATA and this year’s AGM has been a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our Qatari hospitality, together with the new infrastructural developments in our country, such as our new state-of-the-art HIA.’
IATA welcomed and recognised the participation of Qatar Airways and the newly opened HIA in two key industry programmes that will help in enhancing security and passenger convenience.
Among the many events held during the three-day conference was a high profile CEO Forum featuring HE Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Airways; Ivan Chu, Chief Executive Officer, Cathay Pacific Airways; David Barger, Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue Airways; Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, International Airlines Group; and Andres Conesa Labastida, Chief Executive Officer, Aeromexico, with CNN International Business Correspondent, Richard Quest as moderator.
Qatar Airways, the State of Qatar’s national airline, has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 134 aircraft to 141 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Over the next few months, the network will grow further with new routes to Miami, USA (10 June 2014), Tokyo Haneda, Japan (18 June 2014), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (1 July 2014) and Djibouti (27 July 2014).