Aviation continues to grow at a rapid pace, but together, the industry must be committed to unblocking the path to meet the growing demand for connectivity.

The air transport industry will enter into 2019 with the promise of another year of solid profitability. With expectations of a $35.5 billion profit, it will be the ninth year in a row that airlines are in the black. More importantly, it will be the fifth consecutive year where airlines deliver a return on capital that exceeds the industry’s cost of capital, creating value for investors.

The start of a new year is also an opportunity to reflect. A decade ago we were just emerging from a global financial crisis. It shook businesses to the core. And even though aviation’s resilience had been proven time-and-again, I am not sure many would have foreseen the strength of the recovery that followed.

In 2009 there were 2.5 billion journeys by air and in 2019 we are expecting 4.6 billion. People need and want to travel. There is no sign that this trend is about to change. And that is why we are focused as an organization on unblocking the path to meeting the growing demand for connectivity.

This “to do” list for the future has many elements. Airlines will need sufficient infrastructure, modern and harmonized regulations, more reasonable taxation, modern processes for passenger and for cargo. And this just the start.

People need and want to travel. There is no sign that this trend is about to change. And that is why we are focused as an organization on unblocking the path to meeting the growing demand for connectivity

Achieving these will marry the familiar with the new. The familiar message of the benefits of aviation as a catalyst for growth and development will continue to ring true. Global standards will certainly remain as the foundation of global connectivity—particularly in areas like sustainability, safety, distribution and operations.

And we can expect the tumult of change to be super-charged by the force of digital transformation. Painting an exact picture of where aviation will be in a decade is difficult. But, by harnessing the potential of data, for sure it will be even more customer centric, efficient, safe and sustainable. And the pace of change to get there will be like nothing we have seen before.

Our aim is to support the industry in change. Recognizing the expanding dimensions of this challenge, IATA has sharpened and focused its strategy. Our revised vision is to “work together to shape the future growth of a safe, secure and sustainable air transport industry that connects and enriches our world.”

What’s changed? First, it is an inclusive vision that recognizes the critical importance of working in strong partnerships with our members and industry stakeholders. And second it makes it very clear that we are focused on helping the industry to grow—essential to meet the needs of people who want to fly.

You will also notice that IATA is changing the way that it presents itself to the world. Our logo stays the same. But we have adopted a bolder and more modern look and feel to better reflect the dynamic industry that we have the privilege to represent, lead and serve.

Aviation is the business of freedom. And we are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that future generations will have even greater access to its liberating powers!

Alexandre de Juniac: Director General and CEO, IATA

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