Qatar Airways will host the IATA World Financial Symposium (WFS) from19-22 September 2022. Under the patronage of 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.
Qatar Airways group chief executive, 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.”
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 USD9.7 billion this year, improved from nearly USD180 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.
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: ESG & sustainable finance trends. Achieving carbon net zero by 2050. Financial risk management. The road to airline retailing & customer centricity. Fulfilment 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).