Doha: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the 2022 World Financial Symposium (WFS) will focus on reshaping airline resilience. The event will take place from September 19 to 22 in Doha, Qatar, with Qatar Airways as the host airline.
Following the greatest shock to aviation in history, the industry is emerging rapidly from the pandemic and government-mandated travel restrictions of the past two years. Industry losses are expected to reduce to $9.7 billion this year from nearly $180 billion in red ink in 2020-21. As travel barriers fall in most regions, very strong demand is supporting expectations for a recovery to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels by 2024, with profitability a possibility in 2023.
At the same time airline debt levels have soared as carriers borrowed to stay aloft during the crisis. And finance departments across the industry will face challenges as the industry achieves its 2050 fly net zero commitment.
“Airlines are resilient. Now is the time to build on the hard work and difficult restructurings of the past two years to seize opportunities coming out of the crisis. Finance will play a vital role in supporting the ongoing recovery while creating a sustainable capital structure to support our ambitious environment agenda,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H E Akbar Al Baker said: “We are honoured to be hosting the first in-person WFS since 2019 during our milestone 25th year of operations. This vital symposium will bring together financial leaders from airlines and our many supply chain partners to discuss and debate the path forward and the challenges to be overcome.”
A highlight of the WFS Opening Plenary will be an onstage discussion with Akbar Al Baker and Willie Walsh on the theme of the industry’s future.
Sessions will address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting and sustainable finance trends; Achieving net zero CO2 by 2050; Financial risk management; The road to airline retailing and customer centricity; Fulfillment and settlement in a world of airline offers and orders; The future of airline payments and payments as a value creator; and Understanding and preparing for OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) 2.0. WFS will also feature a review of the industry economic outlook and resilience from IATA’s Chief Economist, Marie Owens Thomsen.