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Travel industry to look forward to recovery in 2002, says IATA official at Hong Kong International Aerospace Forum

IATA officials last week expressed their confidence that the travel and tourism industry will weather the storm caused by the September 11th terrorist attacks…

IATA<.> officials last week expressed their confidence that the travel and tourism industry will weather the storm caused by the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States which they said caused chaos in the global travel industry. In a statement, the association said that the industry will emerge, bruised but reformed and very much strengthened.

Addressing the Hong Kong International Aerospace Forum, IATA Director General & CEO Pierre J. Jeanniot noted that industry losses of US 7 billion on international scheduled services in 2001, up from a previously forecasted figure of US 2.5 billion before the September terrorist attacks. Also he said at least 120,000 job losses amongst airlines in the subsequent three weeks, while he said the industry should look forward to a recovery in 2002, pointing out that flying was still the safest form of mass transport.

The Director General said that, in addition to more intense application of conventional airport security screening, defence against potential terrorism should consist of two elements: better government intelligence and a worldwide application of biometrics.

IATA has been advocating biometrics for the past two years. People involved in using the air transport product, particularly frequent flyers, or delivering the air transport product – employees of airlines and airports, etc. – would have been subjected to an iris scan, and their details stored on a data-base. Once they have been positively vetted as a non-security threat, they should then be allowed to go about their lawful business, with no further checking. Resources can then be redirected to thoroughly checking those who have not been positively cleared, and could potentially represent a risk.

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