Aviation is helping to fuel the growth of the global economy and gdp and nowhere more so than in Asia where many residents are traveling abroad for the first time. It brings people together families, friends and business colleagues. It helps minds to meet and exchange ideas in forums like this. It gives people the freedom to be almost anywhere in just 24 hours and it has turned our wonderfully big planet into a wonderfully small world of enormous and wonderful opportunities.
Flying today is very safe; it was not always that way. In the early days it was a risky business to travel in flights, but right from the beginning there was an understanding among governments and industry that safety was not a competitive issue. And there has always been great cooperation among all the industry’s stakeholders in efforts to make flying ever safer. In 2013 there were some 36.4 million flights and 16 fatal accidents. If you were flying on a jet aircraft, your chances of being involved in a major accident were one in 2.4 million. And among the three billion passengers that flew (the equivalent of about 40% of the world’s population) there were 210 fatalities. There is no safer way to get from A to B than by plane. But accidents do happen. And this year we had some sad reminders of that reality. The two tragedies involving Malaysia Airlines are still fresh in all of our minds. And our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Every day some 100,000 flights take-off and arrive safely at their intended destination. What happened with MH 370 and then MH 17 is absolutely unprecedented in aviation history. And we will honor the memories of those involved by re-doubling our efforts on safety.
For passengers, safety is something that you can take for granted. And that is the way that it should be. You should also take a hassle-free and convenient experience for granted. People travel a lot, as I am sure many of you do. The experience of travel has improved tremendously over the years. The quality of airline products provides a huge range of choice from absolute luxury to a very basic seat. But I have certainly experienced moments of frustration with the processes that have been put in place around the actual flying experience.
Any business is expected to be sustainable. But it is particularly challenging for airlines that burn fuel to propel their aircraft. Nonetheless, the industry (not just airlines but the whole value chain) has committed to some very ambitious goals. From 2020 we will cap our emissions and our growth will be carbon-neutral. And by 2050 the aspiration is to cut our net emissions back to half the levels that we emitted in 2005.