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Shanghai, innovation awards on roster for IATA in 2015

By Adina Solomon on March 14, 2014

China Eastern Airlines will host the 2015 IATA World Cargo Symposium in Shanghai.

Desmond Vertannes, IATA global head of cargo, announced the news at the Closing Plenary of WCS in Los Angeles.

A new addition to WCS in 2015 will be the Air Cargo Innovation Awards, Glyn Hughes, director cargo industry management at IATA, said.

“We at IATA would like to invest in the future of this industry,” Hughes said.

People can participate by thinking of an idea – “anything that will help increase the competitiveness of air cargo,” Hughes said – and applying on IATA’s website.

An independent jury will assess all of the submissions. The top innovator will be awarded US$20,000, and other innovators may be awarded up to US$10,000 each.

Igor Pasternak, president and CEO of Aeroscraft, talked about his cargo airship design and the transformation going on in the air cargo industry.

“We don’t know if it’s changing temporarily,” Pasternak said. “We don’t know if it’s changing forever.”

Kourorsh Hadi, Boeing’s director airplane product development, talked about a few new ideas that Boeing is working on to make airplanes responsive to the rising price of fuel.

“A lot of our innovation is focused on fuel efficiency,” Hadi said.

He revealed a few Boeing ideas, including an aircraft whose wingspan folds and formation flight of planes, similar to that of birds, in order to be more energy efficient.

Looking back at WCS in 2014, Vertannes said the general theme of the conference tracks was harmonization and common standards.

Though WCS in Los Angeles attracted 1,063 attendees – a record number for any WCS – he mentioned the lack of gender diversity in the industry.

“One area where I’m absolutely convinced we have to make progress is the diversity of our group,” Vertannes said. “If you look around you, you’ll see there’s simply not enough women.”

He also said in honor of the 100th anniversary of commercial aviation, for the rest of March, IATA is focusing its website and social media on freight.

“Let’s not forget – air cargo truly makes it happen,” Vertannes said. “The time to talk has come to an end. We really need to see action and progress.”