Aviation Leaders Assemble in Dubai for IATA’s 80th AGM

Chinedu Eze

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that leaders of the global airline industry are gathering in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the 80th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit from June 2-4, 2024
The event is being held in the UAE for the first time and hosted by Emirates Airline.
According to IATA, over 1,500 participants are expected to be in attendance, including industry leaders, government officials and media.
Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, is expected to welcome delegates to Dubai with an opening keynote speech to the AGM.

According to Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, “Dubai’s world-leading connectivity places it at the crossroads of the planet. And it will soon be the center of the airline industry’s leadership as it hosts the 80th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
“We look forward to hosting our industry colleagues in Dubai, Emirates’ home and hub. This is a city that has forged its place in global aviation and prospered, thanks to its visionary leaders and progressive policies that recognize air transport’s role as a key economic enabler. In line with this, last year aviation contributed 27% to Dubai’s GDP and supported $37 billion in gross value added.
“There are always exciting new developments in Dubai, and I hope visiting delegates will get to a chance to experience this buzzing city and the UAE’s renowned hospitality for themselves.”

The World Air Transport Summit (WATS) will be hosted in the city immediately after the IATA AGM for a comprehensive program addressing the critical issues facing aviation sector.
Walsh also said: “The commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will top the agenda of the 80th IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit. We will explore solutions to accelerate progress, particularly with the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and the potential for carbon removals.
“We’ll also take stock of our progress on safety, financial sustainability, and other key industry topics. It’s important that we put these challenges on the table so that all stakeholders, including governments, have a clear understanding of what airlines need to connect people and economies safely, efficiently, and ever more sustainably.”

IATA also disclosed that the popular CEO Insights Panel moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest will feature Vanessa Hudson, Group CEO and the Managing Director, Qantas; Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline; Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines and Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic Airways.
Key topics to be addressed in the WATS include: A ‘Big Picture’ view of challenges facing the airline industry with changing energy markets, an increasingly complex global geopolitical situation, and shifting supply chains/trade patterns; the potential for AI in aviation; Advancing sustainability with SAF and carbon removals; How aviation and tourism can work better together, and the prospects for air cargo
IATA said a program highlight will be the fifth edition of the IATA Diversity and Inclusion Awards. These awards recognize organizations and individuals who are making a leadership contribution to the 25 by 2025 initiative to improve the gender balance in aviation.

The global body said the benefits of global connectivity is a topic that will underpin the entire program, stating that globally aviation directly employs 3 million people and is a key enabling part of the travel and tourism value chain which supports some 320 million jobs and accounts for about 10% of all economic activity. Moreover, air cargo delivers $8.3 trillion of trade annually – some 35% of total trade.
For Dubai, IATA disclosed that Oxford Economics estimated that aviation contributed 27% to Dubai’s GDP and supported $37 billion in gross value added in 2023. This is projected to increase to $53 billion dollars in 2030, in line with Dubai’s growth.
The association said aviation contributes to achieving 15 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

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