IATA Head Guest
at CORIM luncheon
Alexandre de Juniac outlines current concerns and progress
By Byron Toben
Alexandre de Juniac, the current Director General of IATA (International Air Transport Association) addressed a sold out luncheon of CORIM (Montreal Council on International Relations) recently. The audience of 310 was treated to a detailed run down on the aviation industry today.
As a legal officer of IATA during the era of Knut Hammarskjold, its second Director General, I still follow Air (and now Space) law developments.
Mr. Hammarskjold, a Swedish diplomat, had been preceded by the first DG, Sir William Hildred of Great Britain and followed by Gunter Eser of Germany. The fourth DG was Pierre Jean Junniot of Canada, the fifth Giovanni Bisignani of Italy, the sixth Tony Tyler of England and Hong Kong and now Mr. de Juniac of France, the seventh to hold this position. Each of the seven has presided over times of both great strength and progress.
Mr. de Juniac began by stating that aviation is in “the business of freedom” as it safely transports over 50 million tonnes of cargo and nearly four billion passengers per year. With 265 members, IATA, though not a regulatory body, is in a position to set global standards and facilitate their implementation so that the rules are the same for the 100,000 flights per day. As a trade association, it operates services like consulting, business intelligence and training.
Mr. de Juniac began by stating that aviation is in “the business of freedom” as it safely transports over 50 million tonnes of cargo and nearly four billion passengers per year.
Further, IATA is a strategic economic asset for Montreal, which also hosts ICAO (United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization) and organizations representing pilots, airports, air traffic controllers, as well as having key manufacturers, Bombardier and CAE located here. Air Canada and Air Transit based here add to the critical mass of this aviation cluster.
The past 15 years have seen great transformations, particularly in technology, financials, and environment. A project entitled New Distribution Capability or NDC is modernizing how airlines sell through travel agents with global standards built for the Internet age.
Airlines (historically not profitable) started to turn the corner in 2011 and 2014 and broke through in 2015. In 2016, they made a record profit of $35.6 billion.
‘… IATA is a strategic economic asset for Montreal, which also hosts ICAO… and organizations representing pilots, airports, air traffic controllers, as well as having key manufacturers, Bombardier and CAE located here.’
With continued growth comes continued carbon awareness, leading to continued technology and environmental improvement. The airline industry, uniquely in an age of deregulation, is asking to be regulated by a government Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) that was adopted by ICAO last October.
Security sadly remains a political challenge even though flying remains the safest form of travel for long distances. Last September, the UN asked ICAO to deliver a Global Aviation Security Plan.
In Canada, the federal government has addressed the over collection of security charges. However, the Crown rents charged on airports coupled with continuing threats to privatize airports are a disincentive to travel and the increased GDP that comes with it. The top airports in the world are in public hands, not private. Witness Singapore, Hong Kong, Doha, Seoul and Dubai.
Images: Sylvie-Ann Paré
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club