Slot allocation, passenger rights and aeropolitics dominate IATA Director General and CEO’s address at CAPA Summit in Qatar.

Alexandre de Juniac

By Patrick Appleton

Achieving Smarter Regulation in the aviation industry is not “rocket science”, Alexandre de Juniac has said.

In a wide-ranging speech in Qatar, The International Air Transport Association Director General and CEO also addressed the issues of slot allocation, passenger rights and aeropolitics.

“Regulation is vitally important to aviation, but there are challenges,” he told the CAPA Aeropolitical and Regulatory Affairs Summit.

“Three of the major issues that we face are: Governments breaking from global standards, not consulting with the industry, and not moving fast enough to keep pace with industry developments.”

Smarter Regulation is more common sense than rocket science. It results from dialogue focused on solving real problems

Referencing the work IATA has done alongside the industry and governments in facilitating and developing the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), de Juniac said the benefits of well-thought-out regulations are clear. 

“Smarter Regulation is more common sense than it is rocket science,” he said. “It results from dialogue between the industry and governments focused on solving real problems. 

“That discussion should be guided by global standards and informed by a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. In doing so, it avoids unintended and counter-productive consequences.”

Using the issue of slot allocation as an example, the IATA chief said that the solution—building more capacity—is not happening quickly enough.

He told delegates gathered in Doha that governments should stop trying to find ways around the World Slot Guidelines (WSG), and instead work together on improving it.

De Juniac also reiterated that IATA “categorically rejected” proposals for slot auctioning, which he said would not create more capacity, but rather open up slots to “those with the deepest pockets.”

“Some governments have tried to tinker with the system. And we have fiercely resisted,” he said. “Why? Because allocating a slot at Tokyo, for example, means nothing if there isn’t a corresponding slot available at the destination at the required time. 

“The system will only work if the parties at both ends of a route are using the same rules. Tinkering by any participant messes it up for everybody!

“Like any system, it can always be improved. That’s why we are working with Airports Council International (ACI) on optimization proposals.”

The WSG will only work if parties at both ends of a route are using the same rules. Tinkering messes it up for everybody

Aeropolitics also featured in the IATA Director General’s address, where he reaffirmed the organization’s politically neutral stance.

“IATA has no political agenda and takes no sides in political disputes,” said de Juniac. “But we know that aviation can only deliver its benefits with borders that are open to people and to trade. And so, in these challenging times, we must all rigorously defend the Business of Freedom.”  

Pointing to the blockade in Qatar as one example of a political agenda affecting aviation across the world, de Juniac said that the state was continuing to promote connectivity, albeit in “extremely difficult conditions.”

He also weighed in on the topic of passenger rights, reinforcing industry concerns over the controversial EU 261 regulation that is adding cost to the industry in Europe, and criticising Canada's passenger bill of rights. 

De Juniac said the draft regulation is focused more on punishing airlines than protecting travelers, with penalties set to add costs without improving the passenger experience.

  • To read Alexandre de Juniac’s full speech, click here