The first day of the IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS) kicked off on Wednesday 21 September at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar.
The conference, held under the patronage of Qatar’s Minister of Transport, His Excellency Mr. Jassim Bin Saif Al Sulaiti, was attended by officials, senior executives and financial leaders from the aviation industry.
The IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS) is taking place on 21-22 September; featuring more than 50 expert speakers across the airline and financial sectors, discussing strategic topics relating to the industry’s financial outlook and its future sustainability.
On this occasion, Minister of Transport His Excellency, Mr. Jassim Bin Saif Al Sulaiti said he was pleased for Doha’s hosting of the 4th edition of the IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS), which brought together key aviation industry’s financial leaders for the first time since before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
IATA WFS, he added, will represent an exceptional opportunity to discuss the status quo of the aviation market, aiming to find beneficial ways based on innovation and creativity to address current and future challenges through enhancing close and fruitful cooperation among all parties.
On the first day of the conference Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, delivered an inspiring keynote address in front of the largest in person gathering of the aviation industry’s financial leaders since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.
In his address, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said “Not long ago, we all came together at the AGM to discuss the very pressing topic of resilience after the pandemic. Going through these unprecedented times has allowed us in the airline industry to come together more than ever before. In this mission, we must think of our future, not only as airlines, but the future of our planet by committing to our mission of net-zero carbon by 2050.”
Key international industry speakers at the event include: Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker; IATA Director General, Mr. Willie Walsh; Qatar Airways Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Duncan Naysmith; Chair of the Industry Financial Advisory Council and KLM’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Erik Swelheim; Head of Corporate Responsibility of Lufthansa Group, Mrs. Caroline Drischel; Iberia Head of Sustainability, Ms. Teresa Parejo; IATA Senior VP Financial Settlement and Distribution Services, Mr. Muhammad Albakri and IATA Chief Economist, Ms. Marie Owens Thomsen .
As the industry emerges from the greatest financial shock in its history, numbers indicate a rapid emergence from the pandemic following the removal of government-mandated travel restrictions over the past two years. Industry losses are expected to fall to $9.7 billion this year, improved from nearly $180 billion in losses over the previous year (2020-21). As travel barriers fall in most regions, a recent surge in demand suggests a recovery to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels in 2024, with a possibility of achieving a profit in 2023.
At the same time, airline debts have soared as carriers borrowed to stay afloat during the crisis. Finance departments across the industry are expected to face major challenges as the goal to fly net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 approaches.
In its 25th year of operations, Qatar Airways Group has announced a record profit of US$ 1.54 Billion for the FY 2021-2022. Highest profit in the global airline industry for the same period, 200 per cent above its highest annual historical profit. Overall revenue increased to QAR 52.3 billion (US$ 14.4 billion), up 78 per cent compared to last year and a remarkable two per cent higher than the full financial year pre-COVID (i.e., 2019/20).
Earlier in June 2022, Qatar Airways hosted over 1,000 delegates and aviation leaders from across the globe at the industry’s biggest annual event, the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS).
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was announced as the ‘Airline of the Year’ at the 2021 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’. The airline continues to stand alone at the top of the industry having won the main prize for an unprecedented sixth time (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021). The airline’s hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), was also recently recognised as the ‘Best Airport in the World 2021’, ranking at number one in the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2021.
Qatar Airways currently flies to more than 150 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, voted by Skytrax as the ‘World’s Best Airport’.