The illegal wildlife industry is valued at roughly $23 billion annually. The trade has put many species on the endangered list. Wildlife traffickers often use unaware public transport such as airlines to move their animals and animal products all over the world.
Last month, Qatar Airways passed the Illegal Wildlife Trade’s assessment. The IWT assessment was to determine the airline’s compliance with the declaration and that they met the standards to show they have invoked relevant measures.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, stated, “We are proud and honoured to be the first airline recognised by our industry for delivering on the commitments we made at Buckingham Palace in March 2016. We remain dedicated to this cause, and will continue to work with our stakeholders to raise awareness and improve detection of illegal activity.”
Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, said, “The trade in illegal wildlife could rob future generations of some of our most precious and iconic species. Sadly, traffickers take advantage of the air transport networks we have built, and we all share a responsibility to play our part in eradicating this appalling trade. Qatar Airways is leading the way with its anti-trafficking initiatives, using IATA standards and recommended practices, and they are to be congratulated on their well-deserved recognition from the Royal Foundation.”
Qatar Airways’ Akbar Al Baker received their certificate from IATA’s Alexandre de Juniac in Seoul, South Korea at the IATA’s Annual General Meeting.
United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Chairman, Lord Hague of Richmond, says, “Congratulations to Qatar Airways on being the first to achieve this important new certificate, which represents the high standard to which airlines are now being held and is only awarded to those truly taking the necessary measures to combat the illegal wildlife trade.”
In the effort to stop the wildlife trade, the airline has enforced specific practices such as training their workers to spot and report suspicious passengers. They also aim to increase passengers’ awareness of the problem at hand.