Under the patronage of the Minister of Transport, His Excellency Mr. Jassim Bin Saif Al-Sulaiti Qatar Airways will host the largest gathering of financial leaders in the aviation industry since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the tremendously successful IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS) held in Doha last June, the AGM with the largest attendance in the history of the Middle East, the IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS) will be held on September 19-22, 2022.
The removal of government-mandated travel restrictions over the past two years has resulted in a rapid recovery from the pandemic, as the travel industry recovers from its most severe financial shock on record. This year, industry losses are projected to decrease to $9.7 billion, compared to nearly $180 billion over the past two years (2020-21). As travel restrictions diminish in the majority of regions, a recent increase in demand suggests a return to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels in 2024, with the possibility of achieving profitability in 2023.
Simultaneously, airline debts have skyrocketed as carriers have borrowed to remain afloat during the crisis. As the goal of flying net zero by 2050 approaches, finance departments throughout the industry will face significant challenges.
His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways Group, stated, “We are honoured to be hosting the first in-person World Financial Symposium since 2019, especially during our milestone year, celebrating 25 years of operations. This vital symposium will bring together financial leaders from airlines and from our many supply chain partners to discuss and debate the path forward and the challenges to be overcome.”
Director General of IATA Willie Walsh stated, “We are excited to bring the World Financial Symposium to Doha for the first time. As the industry continues to recover, the role of finance in rebuilding balance sheets and supporting our sustainability agenda will take center stage in the important discussions taking place over the next few days.”
The future of the industry will be the topic of a discussion between H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker and Mr. Willie Walsh during the WFS Opening Plenary.
Sessions will focus on:
Trends in ESG and sustainable finance
Zero carbon emissions by 2050
Financial risk management
The path to airline retailing and customer focus
The fulfilment and settlement of airline orders and offers
The future of airline payments and the role of payments in creating value
Comprehence and preparation for OECD BEPS 2.0
IATA’s Chief Economist, Marie Owens Thomsen, will provide a review of the industry’s economic outlook and resilience.
Earlier in June 2022, Qatar Airways hosted over 1,000 delegates and aviation leaders from around the world at the industry’s largest annual event, the 78th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit (WATS) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).