IATA's Wings of Change Conference: Charting the Future of Aviation in the Americas

By Ivan PetrenkoApr 15, 2024 19:34 PMNews
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Aerial view of Santiago, Chile with Andes Mountains in the background
Aerial view of Santiago, Chile with Andes Mountains in the background. Source: unsplash

The 14th Wings of Change Americas Conference (WOCA), hosted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Santiago, Chile on April 10-11, was a landmark event for the aviation sector in the Americas. Over 400 industry professionals, including 16 tourism ministers, gathered to discuss the future of air transport under the theme "Advancing Aviation for a Competitive and Sustainable Future."

Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas, highlighted the critical role of air travel in regional tourism, noting that over 90% of international tourists in Latin America and the Caribbean arrive by air. He celebrated the recovery of air traffic to pre-pandemic levels and growth in regional connectivity but acknowledged the continuing struggle with airline profitability. Cerdá called for closer government-industry collaboration to reduce operational costs and harmonize regulatory standards across the region.

Key topics at the conference included lowering taxes and charges to reduce financial burdens on airlines and passengers, ensuring regulatory consistency, and improving infrastructure to support future growth. A major focus was also placed on sustainability, urging governmental support for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) policies and innovations aimed at net-zero CO2 emissions.

Chile’s launch of the "Vuelo Limpio" program was a highlight, setting a roadmap for 50% SAF usage by 2050. Additionally, the event underscored the importance of diversity and inclusion in aviation, with Chile’s Civil Aviation Authority signing up to IATA’s 25by2025 initiative.

WOCA 2023 reinforced the necessity of collaboration in overcoming challenges, driving innovation, and securing a sustainable and resilient future for aviation in the Americas.

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