The International Air Transport Association (IATA) opened its 71st Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Miami, Florida, with more than 1,000 industry leaders and media in attendance. The meeting is being hosted by American Airlines, FedEx, UPS and Airlines for America (A4A).
“We are excited to be in Miami, a vibrant, multicultural city that is a gateway between North America and Latin America. Like aviation, Miami bridges cultures and nations. This meeting is also a special one for commercial aviation: it was 70 years ago, in 1945, that 57 airlines joined together in Havana, Cuba to found IATA. The mission then and now was to represent, lead and serve the global airline industry by promoting safe, efficient, and sustainable global connectivity,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
As the first order of business, American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker was elected President of the AGM. His election was followed by remarks to the AGM by Anthony Foxx, US Secretary of Transportation, Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, and Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This year, some 3.5 billion passengers and nearly 55 million tonnes of cargo will move safely across a global network spanning approximately 51,000 routes. Aviation supports 58.1 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in economic activity, while in the United States it supports around 5.7 million jobs and contributes $561.7 billion to GDP.
US airlines are leading the industry in terms of profitability. “The US is our industry’s most impressive turnaround story; airlines here are investing more than $1 billion per month in their product and adding service to meet rising demand for connectivity. Aviation stimulates growth and creates jobs. These should also be the goals of policy makers in Washington. What is needed is a holistic view that recognizes that the real value of aviation is the connectivity it provides, not the fees and taxes that can be extracted from it,” said Tyler.
“American Airlines is proud to be one of IATA’s founding members. On behalf of our more than 100,000 employees around the world, we are pleased to be hosting the 71st AGM in Miami, a key gateway hub for American. I look forward to taking part in the important discussions that we’ll have today and tomorrow,” said Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines.
This is the fifth time that the IATA AGM is being held in the United States. The two-day meeting will cover such areas as the relationship between airlines and manufacturers; what’s on the mind of the industry’s CEOs; evolving traveler expectations; infrastructure challenges; and how to make airlines attractive investments.