IATA will move its annual general meeting — traditionally the biggest event in the airline calendar — online, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to preclude large scale physical meetings. 

The airline trade body had initially rescheduled the meeting, to be held in Amsterdam and hosted by KLM, from June to November, in light of the pandemic. 

IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac

Source: IATA

IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac speaking at 2019’s IATA Annual General Meeting, held in Seoul.

Says IATA director-general Alexandre de Juniac: “When we postponed this year’s AGM from June until November, it was with the expectation that government restrictions on travel would have been sufficiently eased to enable a physical meeting. That now seems unlikely and alternative plans for a virtual event are being activated.” 

IATA has also cancelled this year’s edition of the World Air Transport Summit that accompanies the AGM. 

Despite the change in plans, de Juniac says the meeting is still an important one, given how the industry is in turmoil. 

“This will be one of our most important AGMs. The industry is in the deepest crisis in its history. And it is more important than ever for the industry to have this meeting serve as a rallying call of resilience as we find solutions to safely open borders and re-establish global connectivity, ensure vital cargo lanes; and build a sustainable future from the destruction of the virus,” he adds.