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President Sunil Kumar at 75th IATA AGM & WATS – 1-3 June at Seoul, Korea

The 75th AGM of IATA was an event that is historic. UFTAA President Sunil Kumar was invited and registered as a Chief Delegate to this most prestigious event. This is his Fourth AGM attendance. A highly educative World Air Transport Summit (WATS) themed “The Vision for the Future” followed the AGMHosted by Korean Air and chaired by its Chairman Cho Won-tae, IATA AGM held for the first time in the Republic of Korea. The event attracted more than thousand top leaders from among IATA’s 290 member airlines in 120 Countries, their suppliers, governments, strategic partners, international organizations and the media. The event concluded with calls to make the industry sustainable amid a slew of challenges lying ahead and covered topics in the aviation industry from economic outlook to safety. It was dubbed that the aviation industry is equivalent of a United Nations gathering.

The AGM featured keynote addresses by Kim Hyun-mee, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea and Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport. The South Korean Minister said “this year’s AGM would be able to discover the vision for the future of the aviation industry and also share our extensive experiences between our countries and airlines, so that the whole aviation industry can make another leap forward.” The European Commissioner for Transport said that close cooperation between regulators and the industry could ensure a prosperous future for aviation by seeing to it that air carriers and other industry players maintained global standards and offered maximum safety for passengers.

At the 75th AGM, IATA passed these five resolutions…

a) Slots: The projected growth in aviation will be challenged by capacity shortages. There is a huge threat of “delays” and “millions of travellers” affected. Governments requested to urgently address capacity shortages. Endorsed a Statement of Objectives focusing on delivering consumer benefit, proving convenient schedules, ensuring transparency and non-discrimination in the process and using existing capacity to its full potential.

b) RFID for Baggage Tracking: To support the global deployment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for baggage tracking. Implementation of modern baggage messaging standards to more accurately track passengers’ baggage in real time across key points in the journey called for. Airlines to transition to bar-coded bag tags with RFID inlays and use RFID data alerts to enact processes with airports and ground handlers that prevent potential mishandlings.

c) One ID: A big dream come true… To accelerate the global implementation of the One ID initiative, which uses a single biometric identifier to move passengers through the airport, without the need for paper travel documents. This resolution calls for stakeholders — including airlines, airports and government authorities; to work together to promote and implement a paperless passenger process utilizing biometric recognition.