Greater collaboration is needed among all government and industry stakeholders to keep flying secure.
The call came from Iata as the aviation trade body adopted a resolution reaffirming the airline industry’s commitment to safety and security.
Terror incidents in 2016 have dented European passenger demand. Performance over the first months of the year pointed towards the recovery of lost ground.
But recent terrorist attacks demonstrate that the threat continues to hang over the continent with potential negative impact on demand, Iata said.
Director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac told the Iata agm in Cancun: “Aviation is a target for terrorists intent on destroying the freedom that is at the heart of our business.
“Information sharing among governments and with the industry is the key to staying a step ahead of emerging threats.
“We have the same goals – to keep passengers and crew safe. So it only makes sense that we work together as closely as possible.”
He added: “No single entity has all the answers. By combining our strengths more efficiently, the security of passengers and crew will be better served.
“Public and industry confidence has been rattled by inconsistencies in how some states have responded to concerns over the potential for explosives to be concealed in large portable electronic devices (PEDs).
“It highlights the reason why we need better information sharing and better co-ordination to achieve risk mitigation measures that maximize the protection of passengers and crew while minimising unnecessary disruption.
“Under the guidance of governments, the industry works hard to improve processes and develop new technology to counter the evolving threat to aviation security.
“Lengthy processes to get new technology into operation is, however, a bottleneck that needs to be fixed. For example, it’s clear that the long-term solution to mitigating PED threats is better screening technology.
“But without far greater government investment and support to accelerate development and certification of this new technology, its potential will not be realised.”
The comments came as Iata revised its 2017 industry profitability outlook upwards from a previously forecast $29.8 billion to $31.4 billion on revenues up from the previously forecast $736 billion to $743 billion.
De Juniac said: “This will be another solid year of performance for the airline industry. Demand for both the cargo and passenger business is stronger than expected.”
However, he warned: “While revenues are increasing, earnings are being squeezed by rising fuel, labour and maintenance expenses. Airlines are still well in the black and delivering earnings above their cost of capital. But, compared to last year, there is a dip in profitability.”
Airlines are expected to retain a net profit of $7.69 per passenger this year, down from $9.13 in 2016 and $10.08 in 2015. The average net profit margin stands at 4.2% – down from 4.9% in 2016).
“Airlines are defining a new epoch in industry profitability. For a third year in a row we expect returns that are above the cost of capital. But, with earnings of $7.69 per passenger, there is not much buffer.
“That’s why airlines must remain vigilant against any cost increases, including from taxes, labour and infrastructure,” said de Juniac.
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