Qatar Airways has become the first airline to achieve a new industry standard for the prevention of illegal wildlife trafficking in aviation.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) assessment was developed by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), as part of IEnvA - Iata’s environmental management and evaluation system for airlines, with support from The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

In May, Qatar Airways was independently assessed and was deemed to have met the requirements of the IWT assessment.

Illegal trade in wildlife is worth an estimated $23bn (R333bn) per year, and threatens the survival of some of the world’s most endangered species. Animals and animal products are transported around the globe for trade, taking advantage of commercial transport services, including aviation, which is unwittingly misused by traffickers.

Although certification to the IWT assessment may not prevent traffickers from attempting to exploit an airline’s network, it confirms that an airline has procedures, staff training and the reporting protocols that make the smuggling of illegal wildlife products more challenging.

Examples of Qatar Airways' proactive approach to the prevention of illegal wildlife trade include:

  • Working with the USAID’s ROUTES Partnership in developing Qatar Airways’ training material, and sharing intelligence and best practice within the industry;
  • Working with government stakeholders responsible for security and customs at Hamad International Airport and selected destinations to develop shared procedures for wildlife crime reporting and follow-up;
  • Raising passenger awareness through electronic posters at Hamad International Airport, wildlife features in Qatar Airways’ inflight magazine and inflight entertainment system, and wildlife-themed posts on the airline’s social media channels.