Success only happens when you think and act as a team

Tony Tyler

Director General & CEO at International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Away from day job in the airline industry, I am a huge rugby fan. But the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in the United Kingdom has made it clear to me that these two worlds are not so far apart.

The first link is blatantly obvious: if you are a fan, it is far better when you are there. I have been lucky enough to fly into the country to attend a few matches. Of course, for the players, it is absolutely necessary. And air transport is the only practical means to make that happen for the majority in both groups.

The second link derives from that. Like aviation, the RWC is an economic catalyst. During the tournament’s six-week duration, over 460,000 international fans made it to the UK. Ernst and Young estimate a direct spend of GBP870 million and an overall addition of GBP2.2 billion to the UK’s economy. That figure becomes even more impressive when extrapolated to the 3.5 billion travelers expected this year globally.

The third link is that both are team efforts. To win at either, you need a critical combination. For rugby, it’s the mix of forwards and backs. In aviation, it’s a more complicated ecosystem, including airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, manufacturers, and many more. But the basic principle is the same: Success only happens when you think and act as a team.

The recent ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit has rallied the aviation team toward a united approach to managing our environmental impact. Unity across the value chain is a key factor in keeping aviation at the forefront of industries addressing the climate challenge.

Solid cross-industry teamwork sends a powerful signal to governments that aviation is serious about its climate change commitments and eager for them to agree on a global market-based measure at the next ICAO Assembly in 2016.

I’ll close with one final thought on what winning means. As I write today, the World Champions are yet to be determined, but we know for sure that there are many winners.

The 2.3 million RWC ticket holders have had a thrill to remember for a lifetime. Communities across England have become more prosperous—in the short term by visitor spending and in the long term by the cultural enrichment from having hosted the world. And the millions watching from near and far all gained from values that team sports demonstrate in action.

Let’s also take a moment to celebrate the aviation industry’s role in helping to create this very special moment in time and all the streams of value that come with it.

I am an unabashed supporter of rugby and an even bigger proponent for the role of aviation. Each of the 100,000 flights that arrive safely each day make our world more prosperous.

Aviation is an all-too unsung hero: supporting global events, facilitating the exchange of ideas across continents, making it possible to do business in global supply chains, and reuniting families and friends over enormous distances.
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