IATA Conducts Ground Handling Conference in Prague

Nov. 22, 2021
The 33rd edition of the IGHC took place 907 days after the previous iteration was held in Madrid in 2019.

Delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IATA Ground Handling Conference (IGHC) was held in person in Prague, Czech Republic, Nov. 16-18.

The 33rd edition of the event took place 907 days after the previous iteration was held in Madrid in 2019.

Delegates and industry leaders, utilized the time together to discuss key issues facing the ground handling industry and workshop ideas to move sector forward. Networking space and an exhibition area allowed for additional collaboration.

Topics of discussion included lessons learned from the pandemic and steps needed to continue industry recovery; the need to standardize processes globally;  the use of biometrics and travel apps to improve passenger handling; onboarding and retraining ground staff; injury prevention on the ramp; GSE automation and environmental initiatives; and the digitalization of ground ops, among others.

During the event, IATA head of ground operations Joseph Suidan announced he will be retiring. Suidan’s has been leading the IGHC since 2012, in addition to heading development efforts to IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM). Monika Mejstrikova, director of ground operations at IATA, will lead the IGHC moving forward.

“It’s with very mixed feelings standing her today because I feel very privileged,” said Mejstrikova.

“You have really been the heartbeat of the industry and you will be missed. You will be truly missed,” she told Suidan. “I know the shoes are big to fill, but I promise I will do my best to make sure we don’t disappoint you.”

Traditionally, the next location for the IGHC is announced at the end of the event. However, due to scheduling factors impacted by the pandemic, IATA officials were not able to share the 2022 event’s location. However, Mejstrikova said the 34th edition of the IGHC would return to the spring timeframe, likely taking place in late May.