Qatar Airways GCEO Joins other Airline CEOs, Ministers and Key Industry Influencers at IATA Wings of Change Conference
His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, the Chief Executive of Qatar Airways Group, spoke passionately about the challenges facing the aviation industry in Europe at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Wings of Change conference held in Madrid. In his capacity as the Chairman of IATA, H.E. Al Baker attended the conference and participated in a quick-fire question and answer session moderated by BBC presenter, Babita Sharma.
H.E. Al Baker said: “Aviation growth has shifted to geographical areas outside the EU such as the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East in recent years, and the European Commission has been very proactive in pursuing comprehensive air transport agreements with ASEAN, Qatar, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Tunisia. In my view, it is very important for EU air carriers to capitalise on the growth opportunities offered in emerging aviation markets.”
“EU carriers should also reinforce their global position by offering greater connectivity to EU citizens and foreign travellers alike, as many European capitals remain top in-bound tourism markets for global tourism. In the long run, participation of EU carriers through the conclusion of comprehensive air transport agreements is key to ensure the competitiveness of the EU aviation sector.”
Further stating, “Protectionism should not be the answer as this will hinder the competitiveness of the EU aviation sector and the agenda pursued by the Juncker Commission.”
IATA Wings of Change takes place at a critical time for the aviation industry as it struggles to surmount with an unprecedented increase in demand, capacity bottlenecks in air and on the ground. And thus, it looks to harness the many opportunities of the digital revolution. Following the success of the Wings of Change concept, which was developed in Latin America, IATA has brought the conference to Europe for the first time and will potentially continue to expand the brand’s reach to other markets in the future.