Commercial aviation celebrates 100th anniversary

Yesterday marked the centennial of commercial aviation, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has invited everyone interested in aviation to join a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary.

The celebrations will include debates and discussions on what needs to happen to make the next 100 years even more momentous.

On January 1, 1914, a team of four visionaries – Percival Fansler, Thomas Benoist, Tony Jannus and Abram Pheil – came together to organise the first scheduled commercial airline flight, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat across Tampa Bay, Florida.

Beginning with only one passenger on one route on January 1, 1914, today the global aviation industry provides unprecedented connectivity, positively impacting on lives of people across the world.

To cite key statistics:

On average, every day more than 8 million people fly. In 2013 total passenger numbers were 3.1 billion, surpassing the 3 billion mark for the first time ever. That number is expected to grow to 3.3 billion in 2014, almost 44 percent of the world’s population.

About 50 million tonnes of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tonnes daily). The annual value of these goods is some $6.4 trillion, or 35 percent of the value of goods traded internationally.

Aviation supports over 57 million jobs and generates $2.2 trillion in economic activity, and the global airline industry turnover is expected to be $743bn in 2014.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: ‘Over the last century, commercial aviation has transformed the world in ways unimaginable in 1914. The first flight provided a short-cut across Tampa Bay. Today the aviation industry re-unites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets, and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world.

‘Aviation is a force for good. And the potential of commercial flight to keep changing the world for the better is almost unlimited. Aviation has always been a team effort. Growing and sustainably spreading the benefits of connectivity will require the industry, governments, regulators and local communities keep true to the ‘all-in-it-together’ ethos that was the bedrock of that pioneering first flight. And we should be guided by the long-term interests of all whose lives are positively transformed by commercial aviation every day.’

Tyler added, ‘A hundred years is something worth celebrating. And we look forward to creating an equally remarkable legacy for commercial aviation’s second century.’

To host the centennial celebration, a website ( was launched on January 1, 2014. In addition to providing reference materials, the website will also be an interactive information hub, depicting the value that commercial aviation provides from personal, economic and other perspectives.

AEA, IATA welcomes ICAO agreement on aviation emissions

The Association of European Airlines (AEA), representing Europe’s most important network carriers, has welcomed the agreement reached on October 4 by the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), to develop a global framework to reduce and manage aviation emissions.

After years of discussions and negotiations, delegates from the 191 member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) ratified the agreement last Friday. The framework agreement authorises the ICAO to develop a global mechanism known as market-based measures (MBM) over the next three years. Among other things, it may lead to taxing airlines for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Global aviation contributes less than 2 percent of all carbon emissions, but ICAO is looking to contain greenhouse emissions fully as the industry expands, especially in the developing world. Passenger demand is expected to double by 2030.

Voicing support to the MBM agreement, the AEA said: ‘Uniquely, the global aviation sector has unanimously resolved to work towards ‘market-based measures’ (MBMs) to incentivise emissions abatement while maintaining a level playing-field in what is a strongly competitive international industry. The ICAO agreement is an acknowledgement of the industry’s commitment.’

The AEA added: ‘The key to sustainability is technology, and the industry will continue to seek operational answers to flying more efficiently, but must have the infrastructure in place to deliver the potential benefits – in this respect the lack of a Single European Sky is a huge environmental burden.’

The airline industry has called the agreement ‘historic,’ being the first accord on climate change for any global sector. ‘Today was a great day for aviation, for the effort against climate change and for global standards and international co-operation,’ said Tony Tyler, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 84 percent of the world’s air traffic. ‘Now we have a strong mandate and a short, three-year time frame to sort out the details,’ he added.

The European Union has also welcomed the Montreal agreement.

Calling upon the EU to reaffirm its leadership towards enabling consensus for developing a robust MBM mechanism, Mr. Athar Husain Khan, acting secretary general of AEA, said: Channelling the diversity within ICAO into a common purpose will be a challenging task, but ultimately the rewards will be enormous.’

London Southend Airport Acknowledged by IATA

London Southend Airport, an airport in the UK, has been included in the classification airports for the Metropolitan Area of London by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

This makes the airport an official airport for the City of London. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has previously acknowledged the airport as an official London airport, but this latest recognition will now mean that it is automatically included, along with Gatwick, Heathrow, City, Stansted and Luton.

The managing director of London Southend airport, Alastair Welch, said, ‘By offering London Southend alongside all the other London airports – especially at this key time when so many new customers are exploring ways of travelling to London for the Olympics – gives us further chances to demonstrate the great customer service and big benefits we can offer people over and above the other London airports, not only this summer, but also beyond.

We look forward to even more people discovering our new light and airy terminal building less than 100 paces from our brand new railway station with up to 8 trains per hour into the heart of London.

Passengers flying out from London Southend will wait for a maximum of four-minutes for security, whilst those arriving with just hand luggage can expect to travel from plane to train within 15 minutes of their aircraft doors opening (30 minutes if collecting luggage).

London Southend Airport is all about simplicity, speed and service – and even more people will get the option to experience it now.’


IATA Reports Slowdown of Global Air Traffic

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry-wide association of 240 airlines, operating around 84 percent of global air traffic, has reported that global traffic results in May 2012 showed a downward trend, keeping pace with the weakening of global economies.

Although worldwide air traffic increased by 4.5 percent in May 2012, when compared to that in May 2011, this only reflects an increase of 0.1 percent on passenger traffic from April 2012, although capacity has increased by 0.6 percent in May when compared to same period last year.

Freight demand in May 2012 is 1.9 percent below the same period last year, while it is 0.4 percent lower than that in April 2012.

Tony Tyler, the IATA director general and chief executive officer, said, ‘The airline industry is fragile. Relief in oil prices provides some good news. Unfortunately, the softness in oil markets comes on the back of fears of deterioration in the European economy.

Business and consumer confidence are falling. And we are seeing the first signs of that in slowing demand and softer load factors. This does not bode well for industry profitability. Airlines are expected to return a $3 billion profit in 2012 on $631 billion in revenues. That’s a razor-thin 0.5 percent margin.

Whether bringing people together or moving cargo around the globe, aviation is vital to modern life. The G-20 leaders recognised the critical role of aviation which is the backbone of travel and tourism that is a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development.

Now we need governments to move from recognition to action with tax policies that don’t kill growth, regulation that enables growth and infrastructure to accommodate growth.’

IATA Urges Governments to Partner Aviation Industry in Growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry-wide association of 240 airlines operating around 84 percent of global air traffic, has called on governments worldwide to partner with the aviation industry in helping the industry to sustain its economic advantages.

The association is currently hosting its 68th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Beijing, China. In its current session, IATA has reported that in 2011, the aviation industry has flown around 2.8 billion passengers, and 48 million tons of cargo. The aviation industry has also transported goods worth $5.3 trillion by air, representing around 35 percent of all goods traded worldwide.

Addressing the AGM participants at the opening session, Tony Tyler, the IATA director general and chief executive officer, said, ‘Our industry’s license to grow is earned through working with governments to constantly make flying even safer, more secure, and more sustainable. Now we need an agenda to achieve tax regimes that do not kill growth, regulation that facilitates growth and infrastructure that can efficiently accommodate growth. Doing so will enable the substantial economic benefits-jobs and growth-that global connectivity provides.

Aviation’s benefits are not guaranteed. Aviation is expected to grow about 5 percent annually to 2030. If that growth is held back by even 1 percentage point, the global economy will forfeit over a trillion dollars and 14 million jobs. Modern economies cannot prosper and create jobs if they are not connected to global opportunities through aviation. Governments need to unleash the power of aviation to drive jobs and growth. And airlines need to be successful businesses-keeping revenues ahead of costs and generating returns for their shareholders-to deliver economic benefits.’

Beijing to Host IATA Annual General Meeting in 2012

Aviation industry leaders will be gathering in Beijing, China, next week to discuss the industry issues at the 68th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit, to be held in the Chinese capital by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA, an industry-wide association of 240 airline companies that operate around 84 percent of all global air traffic, will be discussing the industry outlook on various issues, including bio fuels, the effect of social media on the aviation industry, and the future of airline distribution.

The IATA Annual General Meeting will be commencing on June 11, 2012, and will be co-sponsored by Air China, the national air carrier of China.

Tony Tyler, the IATA director general and chief executive officer, said, ‘Oil prices are high, although moderating somewhat from recent peaks. The European sovereign debt crisis is unresolved and we are seeing signs that it is starting to affect Asia’s export-driven economies. And the largely jobless recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis is proceeding at a glacial pace. Passenger demand is strong, cargo is weak and the industry’s profitability remains razor thin.

Beijing is a fitting location for this year’s AGM. It is IATA’s home in North Asia-the location of our largest regional office and largest billing and settlement office, with 132 million tickets processed in 2011. But even more importantly, China is a great aviation success story. The government’s strategy of using aviation to drive economic growth has seen China emerge as an aviation powerhouse.’

One Billion Global Tourists Predicted For 2012

On a global scale more than one billion tourists will take a trip that crosses an international boundary during this year.

UN officials announced the figure for international travel to a meeting of tourism ministers in Mexico this week. Speaking to the tourism ministers from G20 countries, Taleb Rifai, head of the UN World Tourism Organisation, said, ‘We will have more than a billion tourists, that means one-seventh of humanity. This has never happened in history.’

While 980 million tourist arrivals were recorded worldwide in 2011, the figure is expected to rise by 3 to 4 percent, to finally deliver the landmark figure of one billion by the end of the year, according to figures from the World Tourism Organisation. In the first two months of this year, international tourism grew by 5.7 percent, to over 131 million, compared to 124 million recorded for the same period last year.

This week’s meeting in the resort town of Merida on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsular was the fourth Ministerial Meeting of Tourism (T20), and its agenda included a focus on combating barriers to the free movement of tourists around the world. Delegates attended it from Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korea, United States, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, UK, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the European Union.

Other contributors to the meeting included the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO).