4 Takeaways from the IATA’s Annual Review 2022

June 27, 2022

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released its Annual Review 2022, a report highlighting current trends in the airline industry that impact not only the airlines themselves, but direct consumers and government bodies as well.

Below we have summarized four key takeaways from the report, as relayed by IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh.

  1. Industry Resilience: Following the worst downturn in recent history, the aviation industry has proven resilient and is again on the rise. People are enjoying the freedom to travel, to connect with one another and to see the world. “By the end of 2023, most regions will be at – or exceeding – pre-pandemic levels of demand,” Walsh explains. Not only that, industry losses are forecast to reduce to $9.7 billion in 2022, down from $42.1 billion in 2021. This marks an enormous improvement from the $137.7 billion in losses witnessed in 2020. The chart below highlights how travel in the U.S. alone has recovered since the start of the pandemic, as measured by the number of passengers screened by the TSA.
  2. Pandemic Lessons: Walsh points out in the report that the importance of aviation was made absolutely clear by pandemic restrictions. “People recognized that their quality of life deteriorated and economies suffered,” he explains. By drawing the correct lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the IATA recognizes the importance of being better prepared, should there be a similar situation in the future. One of the biggest lessons learned, Walsh says, is that travel restrictions actually did little to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  3. Governments and Regulations: Many governments did well in recognizing aviation’s vital role in the global economy during the pandemic, the report explains, providing financial relief to many airlines. As governments now rebuild their regulatory agendas, Walsh says it is “critical that they continue to focus on regulations that create value.” The IATA promises to be vigilant and remind governments that the benefits of regulations must exceed the costs they create. “We see the temptation to introduce new consumer regulations, on everything from airline service offerings to accessible travel,” Walsh explains. “However, the focus of any new rules needs to be on addressing the operational issues in this area, rather than imposing penalties.”
  4. Sustainability: At its 77th Annual General Meeting, members of the IATA resolved to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, the report reads. To achieve this, airlines must rely on infrastructure, supplier partners and the offset providers (those working to reduce emissions by investing in clean energy technologies) to do their part with credible initiatives that deliver real reductions. The game changer, says Walsh, is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is expected to account for about 65% of our carbon mitigation efforts by 2050.

The full Annual Review 2022 report can be found by visiting the IATA website.

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