The International Air Transport Association (IATA) marked 30 years of its Nordic office, reflecting on supporting three decades of successful growth in air connectivity in the region. Supportive government policies, however, will be needed if the maximum economic and employment benefits of air transport are to be realized in the future.
“It has been a privilege for IATA to have supported airlines in the Nordic region in their success over the last 30 years. Passenger numbers now exceed 100 million a year, and air transport supports over half a million jobs and $60 billion in GDP in the region. But if aviation is to maximize its ability to foster innovation, trade and tourism then we need positive government action. The passenger taxes in place in Norway and proposed in Sweden are a sure way to damage connectivity, prosperity and job creation. We hope these governments will reconsider their policies,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s European Regional Vice President.
IATA’s mission since 1945 has been to support its members in creating a safe, secure and sustainable air transport industry. To this end, IATA has worked closely with airlines in the Nordic region on products, services, policies and work programs with the aim of improving the value and efficiency of air transport.
- Financial services – The Nordic office opened in Stockholm in 1986, operating an IATA Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) for airlines. Today, BSP Nordic & Baltic enables 175 airlines to trade with 1,780 passenger and cargo agents, handing $3.5 billion annually.
- Safety – Successfully completing the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is compulsory for all IATA members. Airlines on the IOSA registry have a safety record nearly three times greater than non-IOSA carriers. IOSA is increasingly recognized by regulators as mark of excellence, and in the Nordics the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (TRAFI) has adopted IOSA standards in its audits.
- Environmental sustainability – Nordic region airlines have placed sustainability at the heart of their operations, with regular biofuel flights and more efficient operations.
“Airlines in this region know the importance of demonstrating environmental leadership, and are strong supporters of the industry’s carbon reduction targets. This week governments are meeting to approve a carbon offset and reduction scheme for international aviation (CORSIA). The CORSIA gives us the chance to meet our target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. And it gives us time to develop the technology that will eventually meet our goal of cutting 2005 levels of CO2 in half by 2050,” said Schvartzman.
- Enhanced passenger services – Following the replacement of the paper ticket with the electronic ticket in 2008, IATA developed the Fast Travel initiative, giving passengers greater control and speeding up their journey through the airport through access to mobile and kiosk-based self-service options. Of fewer than a dozen airlines worldwide to have achieved Fast Travel Platinum Status, two are in the Nordic region. SAS was the first airline ever to reach Platinum level, meaning 80% of passengers have access to Fast Travel solutions, and Braathens Regional Airways has just achieved similar status.
“Many congratulations to Braathens Regional Airways for becoming the first domestic carrier in the world to achieve IATA Fast Travel Platinum status. According to industry surveys, over 50% of passengers want to speed up their air travel experience and around 75% of passengers worldwide want more self-service options. Industry-leading airlines like Braathens are at the forefront of such improvements to the passenger experience, as well as reducing their own operating costs,” said Schvartzman.