I am currently attending the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Sydney. It is so nice to be at home for a conference for a change, and it’s particularly funny when talking with a range of airline ceos who complain about how far away Australia is and how difficult it is to take such a long haul flight.
My advice to them is to “get over it” - we Aussies love to fly and fly plenty, and long haul for us is 17 hours straight. It’s all very humorous, but in fact it’s an important point to ensure that airlines continue to fly to Australia, and from what I can tell, more and more will going forward, as Australia is now the eighth largest outbound travel market in the world. That is not per capita, but by list of country by numbers. We are a serious market on the global stage, which is why so many airlines and other travel product providers want to be in, and in deep within the Australian travel industry. This is all good news for travel agents, and more broadly the travel industry.
Some interesting stats were presented during the IATA conference over the last few days, including that this is the ninth year in a row that the global airline industry is in profitability. In fact, in 2018 it is expected
that the global airline industry will top some US$30billion in profit - that’s a big number. Moreover, some 4.3 billion passengers will take to the sky in 2018, but in fact the average per airline seat profit will be
US$7.60. This seems very low when you think about what is involved in flying an aircraft, all the moving parts and support, but it is what it is.
There is all this positive airline talk in one place, yet unfortunately here in Australia we are facing another airline collapse in the form of JetGo. While it will not be anything like the size of the Air Australia collapse,
the fact is we have another airline going broke and one has to wonder, given the global position of airlines, how this could happen. AFTA will be working with IATA and the industry more broadly to see what the ultimate exposure will be, and I hope that some agents who have elected to take part in the ACS chargeback scheme may find themselves with a solution if they are stuck in the middle of this supplier failure with a client chargeback.
There is plenty going on within the aviation industry both here in Australia and around the globe, and what is particularly nice for me is the fact that travel agents are part of the conversation, and a significant
and important part of the future state of aviation when it comes to distribution.