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IATA grows ‘unstoppably’ with its new Madrid headquarters

“Aviation is the business of freedom"

Do you remember the blue logo printed on the plane tickets saying “IATA”? It belongs to the International Air Transport Association

Quoting the Spanish Air Navigation Services Provider ENAIRE, aviation is a phenomenon that goes beyond state borders and therefore needs common agreements and criteria to develop and operate international air services, which is why regulatory institutions and associations like IATA were created.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s CEO

The IATA basically represents the airlines. It was founded in La Habana (Cuba) in 1945, with 57 members from 31 countries under the beautiful motto of working “for the benefit of the peoples of the world”. This association promotes cooperation in air transport for safety, reliability, trust, economy and profitability; serving the aviation industry in general. Following that founding spirit, its CEO until 2016, Tony Tyler, defined aviation as a “strength for good”.

Alexandre de Juniac: “Aviation is the business of freedom: it connects people, enriches minds, creates synergy among economies, delivers goods and discovers the world for the travellers." 

These are not just beautiful words. IATA undertakes and promotes diverse tasks: it audits safety; it prevents human trafficking in air transport; it analyses the convenience of using new technologies, such as Blockchain; it advises on the development of new airport infrastructures and the choice of an economic model to modernise air traffic control, or it protects the finances of the industry from being diverted towards other state expenses. 

The history of IATA has been an intrinsic part of the evolution of air transport. Since the 40s, when avionics and telecommunications changed navigation and separation standards were created both for planes and airways (the “highways of the air”), IATA developed environmental policies for protection against noise and emissions and collaborated in the definition of the requirements for airport terminals, the medical training for cabin crews, the infrastructures for disabled passengers, for “facilitation” as a security concept to ensure the fluid and secure flow of passengers and for ticket fraud prevention. All this has been assisted or driven by the concerns and legal objections from IATA members and has ended up benefitting the whole sector.
The recent negative financial environment revitalised the role of this association. It focused on its function as excellent auditor and managed to simplify and digitalise ticketing. It developed a complete policy for the transport of dangerous goods that were forbidden before, incorporating it into the aviation sector as well as animal transport; and redoubled efforts to defend airline revenues blocked by the central bank of the country they are in. The result was cost reductions until the balance was positive and, in the words of Mr. Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s regional vice-president for Europe, a current “unstoppable” yearly growth.

Madrid was the city chosen to host the new IATA global operations centre, managing them from Torre Europa, the most intelligent building in Spain. The 280 airlines from 120 countries that it currently embodies represent 83% of global air traffic, which entails 315 million plane tickets, or 125 billion euros. The capital of Spain was already managing the European region but it now also administers North America, LATAM, Africa, the Middle East and part of Asia with experts in airports, transport, air safety, flight operations and finances, controlling 50,000 travel agencies and air transport operations. IATA has said that they are grateful for the cooperation of the Spanish government and that Madrid attracts international talent, turning the city into an important centre for aviation operations.

Video IATAtv, Youtube. Business of Freedom

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