Today, Monday, the work of the 78th General Assembly of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Air Transport Summit beginس in the Qatari capital.
The events, which are supervised by Qatar Airways, will witness the attendance of more than 750 guests from aviation sector leaders, and the attendance of more than 150 international media, to discuss the most important topics, issues, and global trends related to the aviation sector.
Qatar’s Minister of Transport Jassim bin Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti delivered a speech at the opening of the conference and praised the International Air Transport Association for its role in unifying and working towards safe, sustainable, and accessible air transport.
IATA is an association founded in 1975 and represents 290 air carriers in 120 countries, or 82 percent of the total air traffic, according to its website.
The Qatar News Agency (QNA) stated that this year’s annual general assembly “is an important opportunity for aviation leaders to reflect on the changing political, economic and technological realities facing air travel as the industry recovers from the pandemic, and the annual meeting will build a stronger future for aviation and air transport sectors.”
The choice fell on Qatar due to the health situation in Shanghai, China, which was the original host.
The crisis, the most serious in the history of commercial aviation, caused airlines to lose 60 percent of their customers in 2020, and the occupancy rate in 2021 increased to only 50 percent, causing them to lose nearly $200 billion in total during the past two years.
Despite the continuing spread of the epidemic and some travel restrictions, particularly in Asia, the sector is now recovering.
Arab airlines recovered quickly
In a media briefing by IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, Kamel Al-Awadi, on Sunday, he said that the recovery of the aviation sector has already begun, but there are still some influential crises such as oil prices, the Ukrainian crisis, and others, but there are flights between Gulf countries and the Arab countries in general, where flights exceeded those in 2019, which indicates that Arab airlines have recovered rapidly.
Al-Awadi explained that the IATA for Africa and the Middle East provides support to these countries in terms of increasing flight numbers over those in 2019, using international cooperation and facilitating procedures between governments, praising in this regard the cooperation between the Arab Gulf states.
He praised the readiness and arrangement of Qatar and Qatar Airways to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which he described as a major global event.
Al-Awadi stated that the recovery in air traffic was slower in Africa than in some other regions, indicating that the Middle East is witnessing an accelerating pace of growth, after the opening of international markets.
He pointed out that the first quarter of 2022 showed some fluctuations in ticket reservations in the Middle East, which fluctuated between 73 percent and 80 percent of the year’s typical levels. Africa recorded a delay in bookings, reaching only about 57 percent of pre-pandemic levels, which shows that the recovery within Africa is still slow.
In addition, the International Air Transport Association launched the IATA CO2 Connect program, an online tool that provides accurate calculations of CO2 emissions from commercial flights.
IATA stressed that the new tool will provide accurate information on carbon dioxide emissions to its applicants, including rates of burning aircraft fuel, and passenger load, which distinguishes it from theoretical data models already on the market today.