Airlines and pilots must work together to keep aviation both safe and financially sustainable, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac has told an international pilots organisation.

work together to keep aviation safe

Speaking on March 16 at the 73rd International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) Conference in Luxembourg, de Juniac pointed out that the meeting was taking place “in a period of industry well-being,” following “perhaps the safest” year ever for aviation, "the business of freedom."

2018 is expected to be the fourth consecutive year in which airline earnings will exceed the cost of capital, he said. However, he warned that costs for both fuel and labor are rising. “So my first message to you is that it is vital we work as a team,” he said. “It is important that we continue to work together to keep aviation in the black.”

In safety terms, 2017 was “an extremely safe year for our industry, perhaps the safest.” de Juniac said. “Yet we know there is room for improvement. We experienced six fatal accidents involving turboprops and cargo flights in 2017, and we’ve had three fatal accidents so far this year.

“In addition, we’ve had some incidents in which margins were compromised, and the outcomes could have been far worse than they were. I envision a time when we have zero accidents and no fatalities, but we are not there yet,” he went on to say.

The pilots’ association and IATA are currently working together to improve safety in a number of areas. They include: accident classification, conflict zones, cyber-security, drones, fatigue management, human factors, pilot emotional and mental health, runway excursions, training, and unstable approaches.

I envision a time when we have zero accidents and no fatalities, but we are not there yet

However, de Juniac noted, “to get to zero accidents, we will have to increase this cooperation.” 

In other points, de Juniac said that the “new dimension” of social media had raised the bar of customer service and the challenge to increase the “absolute focus” on serving the passenger. “It is a great opportunity for us to connect with our customers,” de Juniac said. At the same time, he added, “we are all under a microscope.” 

He ended his talk by saying, “We can and should be proud of providing safe global mobility for over 4 billion travelers each year. To build our future, we must work together – to make the airline business even safer, more accessible, and sustainably profitable.”