DOHA, QATAR – Under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Jassim Bin Saif Al-Sulaiti, Minister of Transport. Qatar Airways will host the biggest gathering of the aviation industry’s financial leaders since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the hugely successful IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS) held in Doha last June, the most attended AGM in the Middle East in history, the IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS) will take place on 19-22 September 2022.
As the industry comes out of the greatest financial shock on record, 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 two years (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 reaching 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 will face major challenges as the goal to fly net zero by 2050 approaches.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “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.”
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, said, “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.”
A highlight of the WFS Opening Plenary will be an onstage discussion with H.E Mr. Akbar Al Baker and Mr. Willie Walsh on the theme of the industry’s future.
Sessions will address:
- ESG & sustainable finance trends
- Achieving carbon net zero by 2050
- Financial risk management
- The road to airline retailing & customer centricity
- Fulfillment and settlement in a world of airline offers and orders
- The future of airline payments and payments as a value creator
- Understanding and preparing for OECD BEPS 2.0
WFS will also feature a a review of the industry economic outlook and resilience from IATA’s Chief Economist, Marie Owens Thomsen.
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 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting 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’.