Flying is freedom, but to grow responsibly the industry must address the key challenges of sustainability, capacity and staff diversity with desire and purpose.

This year we expect to serve 4.6 billion travelers. On average, that means 145 people land safely somewhere in the world every second. Flying is freedom. Each person will have purpose to their journey, including educational, business, leisure or even starting a new life in a new location.

Aviation has enabled people to make connections globally. And that adds tremendous value to the societies in which we live. So it is important that we ensure that future generations will have the same if not greater freedom to explore and contribute to the greatness of our world.

You have to be optimistic about the future of aviation. People want and need to travel. Aviation allows that. And by 2037 we expect that 8.2 billion travelers will rely on airlines to get them where they need to go. Meeting this will be challenging.

You have to be optimistic about the future of aviation. People want and need to travel. Aviation allows that

Where will we find the infrastructure needed to support operations? Our airports and air traffic management systems already struggle to accommodate demand in many key markets. Governments must see the strategic value in developing the air transport infrastructure that can power their economies.

Will we be able to attract the talent needed to run the business? Great careers are on offer in aviation, but even today we struggle to find and train enough pilots to keep ahead of growing demand. Greater gender diversity—ensuring that men and women can equally build their future in the industry—must certainly be a major part of the solution.

Can we continue to improve safety? Air travel is the safest form of long-distance travel, with an impressive history of continuous improvement. Recent tragic accidents should cause us to review how we manage the complexity of new technology. And we also need to think about how we can uphold the integrity of lengthy investigation processes and maintain public confidence in the age of instant information.

Will we be sustainable enough to earn our license to grow? Stabilizing emissions from 2020 with carbon neutral growth is a landmark industry achievement. And our 2050 goal of reducing carbon emissions to half of 2005 levels is ambitious. We need to communicate with even greater clarity what we are doing to achieve it. And we must find ways to get governments to share our ambition and prioritize the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels and the delivery of modernized air traffic management.

These are big questions and the answers will not be easy. One advantage is the strength of our association. Working together through IATA, airlines have built global standards and solutions that have made aviation an integral part of modern life.

These questions about the building blocks of our future will feature prominently at the 75th IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit in Seoul. It is an important opportunity to set out an even clearer vision for a safe, secure, efficient, diverse and sustainable future for aviation, the business of freedom.

Alexandre de Juniac: Director General and CEO, IATA

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