Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Financial Settlement and Distribution Services, welcomes delegates to the World Financial Symposium.
The 2022 World Financial Symposium, our first in-person WFS since 2019, will be held under the theme, Reshape Airline Resilience. We will examine lessons learned and challenges and opportunities ahead.
We are looking at a vastly different world following two years of pandemic-related lockdowns and border closures. Our industry has shown our resilience. And we have demonstrated that aviation is an essential element of everyday life. During the pandemic, aviation brought doctors and nurses to those in need, delivered lifesaving vaccines and medical supplies and kept vital supply lines open. In doing all that, we showed that aviation is a fact of life. It’s not a luxury. It’s not an option. And this gives us the mandate as an industry to continue to serve our customers.
But the world has not stood still. As airline financial managers work to rebuild balance sheets after the losses of the last two years, they also confront many other tasks that will be discussed and debated at WFS including:
- Understanding and absorbing the lessons of the past two years, so that we can be better prepared the next time.
- Creating a sustainable capital structure to support our ambitious 2050 net zero CO2 target. We will need to demonstrate our commitment to that target to attract the financing necessary to get us there.
- Reporting on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). With a number of different methodologies being proposed, we need to ensure that ESG reporting requirements are relevant to our industry.
- Reducing payment costs, which exceeded $20.3 billion in 2019. This figure is expected to rise as airline distribution increasingly moves toward direct channels where payment costs are highest. But payment is also an opportunity. Giving customers the payment options they use and prefer means fewer lost sales.
- Implementing the digital transformation and airline retailing. How will the digital transformation of the industry and the shift to the airline retailing model impact the process, systems, and capabilities of finance departments?
WFS is certain to be an exciting and informative two days for everyone!