IATA AGM News in Brief

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Digital-BannerIATA urges states to provide timely, thorough and public accident reports: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to live up to longstanding international treaty obligations to publish timely and thorough aviation accident reports. Safety is aviation’s highest priority. Failure to publish prompt and complete accident investigation reports deprives operators, equipment manufacturers, regulators, infrastructure providers and other concerned stakeholders of critical information that could make flying even safer. “The accident investigation process is one of our most important learning tools when building global safety standards. But to learn from an accident, we need reports that are complete, accessible and timely,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. The requirements of the Convention of International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) Annex 13 are clear. States in charge of an accident investigation must: Submit a preliminary report to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) within 30 days of the accident; Publish the final report, that is publicly available, as soon as possible and within 12 months of the accident; Publish interim statements annually should a final report not be possible within 12 months. Only 96 of the 214 accident investigations during the period 2018-2022 conform with the requirements of the Chicago Convention. Just 31 reports were published in less than one year of the accident with the majority (58) taking between 1–3 years. In addition to the fact that final reports regularly take more than a year, interim statements often provide little more than what was presented in the preliminary report.

Aviation consumer protection regulation should address shared responsibilities: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for consumer protection regulation to address the responsibility shared by all stakeholders when passengers experience disruptions and released survey data showing most passengers trust airlines to treat them fairly in cases of delays and cancellations. Whenever there is a delay or a cancellation, where specific passenger rights regulations exist, the burden of care and compensation falls on the airline, regardless of which part of the aviation chain is at fault. IATA therefore urged governments to ensure that responsibility for flight issues is shared more equitably across the air transport system. “The aim of any passenger rights regulation surely should be to drive better service. So it makes little sense that airlines are singled out to pay compensation for delays and cancellations that have a broad range of root causes, including air traffic control failures, strikes by non-airline workers, and inefficient infrastructure. With more governments introducing or strengthening passenger rights regulations, the situation is no longer sustainable for airlines. And it has little benefit for passengers because it does not encourage all parts of the aviation system to maximise customer service. On top of this, as costs need to be recouped from passengers, they end up funding this system. We urgently need to move to a model of ‘shared accountability’ where all actors in the value chain face the same incentives to drive on-time performance,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. Economic deregulation of the airline industry has brought huge benefits over decades, increasing consumer choice, reducing fares, expanding route networks and encouraging new entrants. Unfortunately, a trend of re-regulation threatens to undo some of these advances. In the area of consumer protection, more than a hundred jurisdictions have developed unique consumer regulations, with at least a dozen more governments looking to join the group or toughen what they already have.

IATA and UNEP to Address Key Environmental Challenges in Aviation Including Single-Use Plastics: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to address sustainability challenges in the aviation industry. Reduction of problematic single use plastics products (SUPP) and improving the circularity in the use of plastics by the industry is the initial focus of the partnership as UNEP leads global efforts to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, by the end of 2024. Making aircraft cabins more sustainable is a priority for airlines and their passengers. The complex and asymmetrical regulatory environment, however, often poses an obstacle by preventing circular economy best practices. In the absence of a global approach, differing regulations at both ends of a journey severely limit the actions that airlines can take. IATA advocates for a simplified and harmonised regulatory environment that would enable a reduction in plastic utilisation and greater reuse, and recycling of cabin waste, including plastics, where they are needed. To this end, the partnership will step-up IATA’s engagement with UNEP to ensure that aviation’s unique challenges and opportunities are represented in the upcoming international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution. Already, IATA and UNEP are working on joint guidance on Re-thinking Plastics in Aviation. This comprehensive resource will encompass an overview of regulations, guidance on SUPP replacement, and recommended best practices for both industry and regulators. “World Environment Day reminds us that sustainability is our number one global challenge. Formalising IATA’s longstanding collaboration with UNEP will help airlines move even faster on improving the sustainability of the aircraft cabin. It’s critical that we achieve a harmonised global regulatory framework to enable airlines to implement more comprehensive and common circular economic solutions in all markets. For example, currently our hands are tied with outdated regulations focused on incineration rather than reuse and recycling. Modernising that will be a big step forward for sustainability,” said Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s SVP Sustainability and Chief Economist.

2023 winners of IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards announced: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the winners of the 2023 edition of the IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards. Winners include: Inspirational Role Model: Poppy Khoza – Director of Civil Aviation, South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA); High Flyer: Camila Turrieta – Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion Committee, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and First Officer, JetBlue Airways; Diversity & Inclusion Team: Virgin Atlantic Airways “In their fourth year, the IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards play an important role in recognising the work done by those who go above and beyond in engraining diversity and inclusion in the aviation industry. Through breaking taboos to introducing innovations and changing the status quo, this year’s winners exemplify the true nature of the industry: resilience, persistence and unhindered motivation to drive change,” said Karen Walker, Editor in Chief, Air Transport World and chair of the judging panel. The other members of the judging panel include the winners of the 2022 awards: Güliz Öztürk, CEO, Pegasus Airlines; Kanchana Gamage, Founder and Director of the Aviatrix Project, and Alina Aronberga, SVP Human Resources, airBaltic. “I congratulate the winners of the 2023 awards. By their example, they are leading the way to a gender balanced aviation industry. They have pushed boundaries to demonstrate that diversity and inclusion is fundamental to business success. Congratulations to three truly inspirational winners. Women are still under-represented in aviation, but with the help and example of these and previous award winners, we are making progress,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. Qatar Airways is the sponsor of the Diversity & Inclusion Awards for the fifth consecutive year. Each winner receives a prize of $25,000, payable to the winner in each of the categories or to their nominated charities.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo is new chair of IATA Board of Governors: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo has assumed her duties as Chair of the IATA Board of Governors (BoG) for a one-year term, effective from the conclusion of the 79th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Istanbul, Türkiye on 5 June.  Makolo is the 81st chair of the IATA BoG and the first woman to take on this role. She has served on the BoG since November 2020. She succeeds Pegasus Airlines Chairperson of the Board Mehmet Tevfik Nane who will continue to serve on the BoG. “I am honoured and pleased to take on this important role. IATA plays a critical role for all airlines—big and small, various business models, and in all corners of the world. Leading a medium-sized airline in Africa gives me a unique perspective on issues that airlines hold in common. At the top of the agenda are decarbonisation, improving safety, the transformation to modern airline retailing, and ensuring we have cost-efficient infrastructure. I am particularly pleased to be taking on this role as IATA launches Focus Africa with the aim of unifying the continent’s stakeholders so that together we can strengthen the contribution of aviation to Africa’s social and economic development,” said Makolo. Makolo started her aviation career in 2017 when she was appointed as RwandAir’s Deputy CEO in Charge of Corporate Affairs. She was named CEO in April 2018. Yvonne brought 11 years of commercial expertise to her current role, having joined telecommunications company MTN Rwanda in 2006, rising to the positions of Chief Marketing Officer and Acting CEO. Under her leadership, RwandAir has become one of Africa’s fastest growing airlines with a fleet of 13 modern aircraft. She has led cultural change at the airline with a focus on inclusion and diversity and growing the number of women in under-represented roles.

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