In his keynote speech at the opening of the IATA World Financial Symposium, being held this week in Singapore, the organization’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, commented on the current state of the airline industry, calling for more “speed and innovation”. He noted that although the performance of the industry was strong, expected to deliver a record-breaking US$39.4bn by the end of the year, it would be irresponsible to expect this to continue so easily. Another observation was that the profitability is not evenly spread, with significant variations among regions.
For de Juniac, potential challenges that lie ahead include a sudden rise in oil prices, an increase in terrorism aimed at aviation and air travel, a sharp economic downturn and a retreat from the principles of free trade by one or more major economies. The IATA Financial Committee White Paper identifies ways of preparing.
“Uncertainty is ahead of us,” warned de Juniac. “I am a big believer in speed and innovation. We cannot know the future. But we need to be prepared to react quickly when the environment changes. That’s not easy for any business – and it is a real struggle for process-driven industries like air transport.”