IATA has confirmed that South African Airways
will host the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air
Transport Summit (WATS).
The event will draw the top leadership of
the air transport industry to Cape Town’s International Convention
Centre from 2-4 June 2013.
“South Africa will be a great location for the
AGM and WATS in 2013. Air connectivity is key to South Africa’s
economic success, contributing 2.1% to the country’s GDP. Along
with supporting South Africa’s strong tourism sector, air
connectivity plays a critical role in maximizing growth
opportunities arising from South Africa’s BRICS membership and the
burgeoning African economy,” said Tony Tyler, Director General and
CEO of IATA.
The aviation and aerospace sectors contribute about
ZAR51 billion (approx US$ 6,07 billion) which is equal to 2.1%
South Africa’s GDP. This activity supports over 227,000 South
African jobs. The bulk of this contribution is driven by
commercial airline transport.
Along with shining a
spotlight on Africa’s opportunities, the AGM and WATS will provide
a forum for discussing its challenges.
“Growth in Africa is
impeded by regulatory burdens and a poor safety record compounded
by the high fuel prices in many parts of the continent. IATA is
working across the continent with governments, regulators and
airlines to improve safety, sustainability and competitiveness.
Holding the AGM and WATS in Cape Town will provide a prominent
platform to address these issues and challenges,” said Tyler.
This year’s AGM and WATS in Beijing attracted some 750
airline industry leaders representing IATA’s 242 member airlines.
It drew a further 350 journalists representing major media outlets
from around the world.
“The IATA AGM and WATS is a
unique marketing and publicity opportunity for our industry, for
Cape Town and for South Africa. Significantly, it takes place at
the same time as our country is rolling out a new national
infrastructure development programme. This will position South
Africa to play a vital role driving trade, business and tourism on
the continent together with current and developing markets in
Brazil, Russia, India & China. In turn this promises to create
jobs and tackle poverty and inequality in South Africa,” said Siza
Mzimela, South African Airways CEO.
This will be third time that the IATA AGM
is held in Africa. Previous IATA AGM’s held in Cairo, Egypt (1946)
and in Nairobi, Kenya (1991).
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