The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that some 700 aviation leaders are gathering in Cape Town, South Africa for the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit. From 2-4 June 2013 Cape Town will be the global capital of commercial aviation as the industry discusses its most important issues, including safety, environment, distribution and financial sustainability among others.
"African aviation is at an inflection point. Although it is small by global standards, the potential is enormous with a billion people spread across 20% of earth"™s land mass. The African Union celebrated its first 50 years over the weekend. African unity and integration depends on connectivity. The AGM will be an important opportunity to reflect on the critical role that aviation plays on the African continent," said Tony Tyler, IATA"™s Director General and CEO.
This is the first time the AGM is being held in South Africa and only the third time in IATA"™s 69-year history that the AGM is taking place in Africa (Cairo, Egypt in 1946; and Nairobi, Kenya in 1991). South African Airways, a longstanding IATA member, is hosting the event.
Tyler also made note of the 100th anniversary of the first commercial airline flight, which will be celebrated on 1 January 2014. "It is altogether appropriate that we look forward to the next century of commercial air transport in a region which is so rich in promise," Tyler said.
The AGM will open with keynote speeches from South Africa"™s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and the Minister for Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba.
The first day will feature two panel discussions:
The CEO Insight Panel will feature Thomas Horton, Chairman and CEO, American Airlines; Richard Anderson, CEO Delta Air Lines; Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines; Choon Phong Goh, CEO, Singapore Airlines; and Jeffrey Katz, CEO, Wize Commerce. CNN International Correspondent Richard Quest will moderate the session.
Unlocking Africa"™s Potential will feature Elijah Chingosho, Secretary General and CEO, Association of African Airlines; Bernard Gustin, CEO, Brussels Airlines; James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways; and Titus Naikuni, CEO, Kenya Airways; and Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA. CNN Africa Bureaux Chief, Kim Norgaard will moderate the session.
Sessions on Tuesday 4 June will focus on key industry issues and initiatives: Cost of Infrastructure; Ancillary Revenues; Achieving Carbon Neutral Growth from 2020; and Crisis Communications and Social Media.
Air transport has a significant footprint on the African continent. When combined with the economic impact of aviation-enabled tourism, the air transport industry supports some 6.7 million high quality African jobs and $67 billion of African GDP. In South Africa alone, aviation supports 350,000 jobs and makes a ZAR74 billion contribution to South African GDP.