The International Air Transport Association (IATA) intends to significantly reduce its presence in Montreal, where it has been headquartered since 1945, to focus its activities in Geneva, where it has its executive headquarters, PAX has learned.
“The decision to concentrate activities in Geneva was taken in consultation with the IATA Board of Governors, ” IATA confirms in a statement.
Aligning with post-COVID realities
Montreal is currently one of IATA's two main offices, the other being Geneva.
"The decision was made to concentrate the operations of the association in a single main office in the future in order to realize efficiencies and to align with the anticipated business realities of the post-COVID-19," IATA says.
The prestigious international organization represents some 290 airlines which handle 82% of global air traffic.
It will maintain a presence in Montreal, but it will be considerably reduced.
“IATA will maintain a presence in Montreal based on its business needs, particularly with regard to interactions with the international aviation community that Montreal hosts. The size of this presence has not yet been fully determined, but it will be very significantly reduced from the 300 people it currently employs in the city," says IATA.
IATA specifies that the reduction in its workforce in Montreal should be done mainly through attrition, but that "in some cases, depending on business needs, moves to other IATA offices could take place."
Reducing the presence of this important international organization in Montreal risks being perceived as a blow as the city likes to present itself as the "World Capital of Civil Aviation."
Montreal, it should be remembered, is also home to the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA), and the Airports Council International (ACI).
In addition, Montreal is home to more than 200 companies in the aerospace sector.
Recall that in 2018, IATA had, unlike today, announced an increase in its activities at its headquarters in Montreal, in the Stock Exchange Tower (by expanding its financial services and distribution division there - SDS).
“Since 1945, IATA has had a head office in Montreal. With the presence of ICAO, Montreal is one of the major world poles of civil aviation and a place where we can conduct our global activities at competitive costs," declared former director general of IATA Alexandre de Juniac.
At the time, IATA's decision to expand its activities in Montreal was unanimously applauded by the business and political class.
"This will strengthen the city's leadership position, as the third largest city in the world in the field of aeronautics, after Seattle and Toulouse," said Hubert Bolduc, CEO of Montreal International while Mayor Valérie Plante welcomed a decision that would increase “Montreal's ability to play a major role in the aviation industry."
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