MIAMI – Bosses from around 100 of the world’s biggest airlines will converge in Boston, US, tomorrow for the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 77th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit.

JetBlue (B6) will be this year’s host airline for the three-day summit. It will be the first time the global gathering takes place at “The Hub’s” Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel and the sixth time in the United States. The last face-to-face meeting took place in Seoul in 2019.

IATA

COVID-19 Recovery Focus


This year will of course focus on the industry’s recovery post-COVID-19. IATA will reveal its latest economic forecast for the industry’s losses in 2021, as well as the latest recovery projections. 

As vaccine and testing levels around the world continue to rise, there are positive signs that the industry’s recovery is moving in the right direction. The recent announcement that the US will soon welcome travelers from Europe is a massive step forward.

However, there is still a long way to go. A recent IATA report noted that air travel in August was down 56% compared to the same month the previous year.

There are also the issues facing airlines in countries where vaccine rollout has been significantly slower. This will lead to a big variation in airline recovery. Cargo trends, which unlike passenger operations have seen a surge in demand during the pandemic, will also be discussed.

Image: IATA

“Critical Climate Change Issues”


The new Director-General of IATA Willie Walsh, who took charge in April, said, “As we plan for the industry recovery from Covid-19 and address critical climate change issues, the in-person discussions and debates among the industry’s top leaders and stakeholders will be particularly significant.”

Indeed, COVID will not be the only hot topic on the agenda. Diversity, equality, and inclusion are set to be discussed. Then there is the very real challenge for the aviation industry to reduce carbon emissions as pressure from environmental groups mounts.

One of the three-day program’s highlights is how the industry can ensure sustainability moving forward. You can see the preliminary program here.

Willie Walsh, IATA Director General. Photo: IATA

2021 IATA AGM Speakers


  • Aengus Kelly, CEO AerCap
  • Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways
  • Alan Murray Hayden, IATA Head of Airport, Passenger & Security Solutions
  • Annie Petsonk, US Department of Transportation
  • Brandon Fried, Executive Director Airforwarders Association
  • Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts
  • Carsten Spohr, CEO Lufthansa
  • Conrad Clifford, Senior VP and Deputy Director General IATA
  • David Rockland, CEO Rockland Dutton
  • Deborah Flint, CEO Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
  • Don Colleran, CEO Fedex Express
  • Dr. Isaac Bogoch, University of Toronto
  • Ed Sims, CEO WestJet
  • Guillaume Faury, CEO Airbus
  • Harry Theoharis, Parliamentary Spokesperson, Hellenic Parliament
  • Jennifer Holmgren, CEO LanzaTech
  • Jessica Tyler, Head of Cargo, American Airlines
  • Joanna Geraghty, President and COO JetBlue Airways
  • John Heimlich, Vice President and Chief Economist, Airlines for America
  • Karen Walker, Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief and Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief
  • Kristin Colvile, CEO SkyTeam
  • Lisa R. Cummins, Minister of Tourism & International Transport, Barbados
  • Lynne Embleton, CEO Aer Lingus
  • Peter Cerda, IATA Regional VP, The Americas
  • Peter Ingram, CEO Hawaiian Airlines
  • Pieter Elbers, CEO KLM
  • Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Richard Quest, International Business Correspondent CNN
  • Robin Hayes, CEO JetBlue Airways and Chairman of the Board of Governors
  • Robyn Curnow, CNN Anchor
  • Rono Dutta, CEO IndiGo
  • Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • Scott Kirby, CEO United Airlines
  • Sebastian Mikosz, IATA Senior VP Environment and Sustainability
  • Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airlines
  • Stanley Deal, CEO Boeing Commercial Airplanes
  • Willie Walsh, IATA Director General

Featured image: ACA B38M at YVR | Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Michal Mendyk/Airways