The 75th IATA (International Air Transport Association) AGM (Annual General meeting) and World Air Transport Summit kicked off on June 1, at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul. The AGM was held for three days, until June 3.
The yearly IATA AGM is the world’s largest event for the global air transport industry, where the airline industry vote on resolutions and important decisions that impact the industry.
The fact that this year’s IATA AGM is in Seoul, Korea, shows how important the Korean air transport industry is to the world. The IATA AGM was expected to help transform certain aviation trends, and it will upgrade the global status of Korea as a major player in the airline industry.
Korean Air Chairman and CEO Walter Cho elected as President of IATA AGM
On June 1, the IATA AGM kicked off with the registration of participants, which was followed by an IATA media briefing on the issues facing aviation industries in Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and infrastructure issues in the air transport industry.
In the opening ceremony on June 2, Walter Cho, the new Chairman of Korean Air, was elected as President of the IATA AGM Seoul. “I hope that the 75th Annual General Meeting will serve as a productive forum in which we’ll be able to bring to light where the gifts of opportunity lie in our industry and how we may approach these opportunities to benefit collectively,” Mr Cho said in his speech.
“The 75th IATA AGM is meeting in Seoul at the invitation of Korean Air. Walter Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air and his team have pulled out all the stops to ensure that we have a productive meeting while enjoying the best of Korean hospitality. We thank them for what is sure to be a very successful and memorable event,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
Next followed the discussions and approvals on IATA’s resolutions, including the annual report of IATA, the report of the Board of Governors and financial statement. Then, the election of members to the IATA Board of Governors, and discussions of time and place for the 76th AGM in 2020 were carried out.
On the afternoon of June 2, various sessions under the theme The Vision of the Future analyzed future trends in the air transport industry including the challenges and opportunities of the industry. On June 3, various agendas such as the impact of digital transformation, air traffic management, sustainability of the future, and passengers with disabilities were discussed.
■ Gathering of 1,000 ‘key people’ in the airline industry
This year’s AGM in Seoul attracted approximately 1,000 people, including CEOs of member airlines, aircraft and part manufacturers, as well as participants from air transport and tourism industries and media.
For three days, the AGM transformed Seoul into the capital of the global aviation industry. With key industry leaders visiting Korea, this is the perfect opportunity for Korean Air to raise awareness of Korea’s rapidly growing aviation industry. The competitiveness of Incheon International Airport, the hub of Northeast Asia, attracted global attention with its state-of-the-art facilities, convenience and seamless transfer service.
It is also a great opportunity to highlight the beauty and well-developed tourism infrastructure of Korea. The AGM is expected to boost the tourism industry in Korea, which in turn will help the economy and employment levels.
■ Memorial event for the late Korean Air Chairman Yang Ho Cho
The late Korean Air Chairman Yang Ho Cho, who passed away in April, played a crucial role in Korean Air hosting the IATA AGM for the first time in the country. To honour his memory, a memorial event was held during the opening ceremony of the IATA AGM on June 2, and attendees paid their respects with a moment of silence.
From 1996, the late Chairman Cho served as a Board of Governors member for the highest policy-reviewing and decision-making body of IATA. In addition, as a member of the IATA Strategy and Policy Committee (SPC), which comprises 11 members elected among the members of the Board of Governors, he led core decisions for the global aviation industry, such as IATA’s key strategies and detailed policy directions, annual budgets, and member qualifications.
■ What hosting IATA AGM means for Korean Air
During the IATA AGM, information about the global industry trends are exchanged, which positions Korea to lead the industry trend of 2019.
For Korean Air, hosting this year’s AGM holds a special meaning. This year marks Korean Air’s 50th anniversary. It is also the 30th anniversary of Korean Air joining IATA on January 1, 1989, the first time a Korean airline had joined the IATA.
The SkyTeam Alliance Board meeting was also held in Korea, in the afternoon of June 1. The Alliance Board meeting is an important international event that sets the strategy and direction of SkyTeam, a major global airline alliance of which Korean Air was a founding member in 2000.