IATA CEO: Aviation industry fraught with challenges

SPEAKING at the IATA 67th AGM and World Air Transport Summit in Singapore this morning, outgoing IATA director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, gave a dramatic overview of the aviation sector over the last decade during his state of the industry address.

Bisignani noted that the aviation sector had been continually battered over the least 10 years by terrorism, wars, revolutions, pandemics, earthquakes, volcanoes, failing economies and skyrocketing fuel prices.

Even though the industry posted its best performing year of the decade in 2010, with profits of US$18 billion, this represented a “pathetic margin of 3.2 per cent”, he said.

Bisignani said 2011 looked to be a continuation of this trend of challenges for the aviation industry – the disaster in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and oil spiking above US$120 per barrel. Airlines will probably earn about US$4 billion this year, according to IATA, down from its previous US$8.6 billion forecast in March.

Bisignani added that the decade had left the aviation industry with the knowledge “that cheap oil is history, we must be ready for constant shocks and that aviation’s centre of gravity is shifting eastward”.

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