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Press Release

Multi-stakeholder mobilization to reinforce cyber resilience in global aviation

Luftfart og romfart|Cyber Risk Management
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January 24, 2020

  • Robust cyber resilience is crucial for critical infrastructure industries like the aviation
  • Technologies such as AI, Industrial internet of things (IIOT) and cloud computing are increasing operational efficiency, customer experience and competitive advantage. But their digital nature makes them intrinsically vulnerable to cyberattacks with potentially large-scale harmful consequences
  • Potential global cost of cyberattacks could be up to $90 trillion in net economic impact by 2030
  • To help build cyber resilience in the aviation industry, the Forum has mobilized a community of key stakeholders from international organizations, government entities, private-sector organizations and trade associations
  • For more information, please visit  www.weforum.org. Share on social media using the hashtag #wef20

Geneva, Switzerland, 22 January 2020 - The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming the way airlines and airports do business. The advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence and internet of things is increasing operational efficiency, but the digital nature of these technologies makes them intrinsically vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure have become the new normal across sectors such as transportation. Globally, their potential cost could be up to $90 trillion in net economic impact by 2030, if cybersecurity efforts do not keep pace with growing interconnectedness, according to the Atlantic Council and the Zurich Insurance Group, among others.

In Advancing Cyber Resilience in Aviation: An Industry Analysis, the World Economic Forum initiative on Building Cyber Resilience in the Aviation Industry aims to define and address some of the salient systemic challenges confronting this industry by:

  1. Increasing awareness and understanding of cyber risks related to the adoption of emerging technologies, and the impact on critical systems
  2. Fostering collaboration across the aviation industry to define a common understanding and approach to risk management that is holistic, risk-based and aligned across the various entities of the aviation industry ecosystem
  3. Helping aviation stakeholders to make informed – hence better – decisions related to cyber risks
  4. Developing an industry-wide approach to cyber resilience with a multistakeholder community in alignment and collaboration with the ICAO Secretariat Study Group on Cybersecurity (SSGC), industry associations and national authorities
  5. Creating market incentives to prioritize capital investment for cybersecurity and resilience

To advance and help build cyber resilience in the aviation industry, the Forum has mobilized a community of experts and key stakeholders from international organizations (International Civil Aviation Organization, Eurocontrol), government entities (European Union Aviation Safety Agency, UK Civil Aviation Authority, Israel National Cyber Directorate), private-sector organizations (aviation, ICT and insurance sectors)  and trade associations (International Air Transport Association, Airport Council International and the Industrial Internet Consortium) to identify challenges and initiatives spearheaded by government and industry entities to enable the development of an aligned global approach.

“The Forum offers a unique platform to bridge and strengthen industry and government collaboration globally to define a joint approach to informing key stakeholders, addressing the most salient challenges and creating a more secure and cyber-resilient ecosystem,” said Georges De Moura, Head of Industry Solutions, Centre for Cybersecurity at the World Economic Forum.

“Abundant broadly-accepted government and industry standards for cybersecurity fall short of what is required to ensure effective defence against cyberattacks in aviation: a common understanding of systemic risks and synchronized consistent quantitative methods for cyber-risk management,” said Karime Kuri TiscarenoProject Lead, IoT, Robotics and Smart Cities, at the World Economic Forum.

The launch of this report is the first phase in developing a common approach with the aviation industry to develop effective cyber risk management, and to impart this knowledge across other sectors"

Adam Garrard,
Global Head of Corporate Risk and Broking,Willis Towers Watson

“Our ongoing strategic partnership with the World Economic Forum ensures that we can support the aviation sector to mitigate any potential harm and foster a stronger cyber resilience culture across the sector. The launch of this report is the first phase in developing a common approach with the aviation industry to develop effective cyber risk management, and to impart this knowledge across other sectors,” said Adam Garrard, Global Head of Corporate Risk and Broking, Willis Towers Watson.

A number of requirements, standards and approaches are currently being implemented to assess, manage and mitigate cyber risk, but action and practical solutions must be accelerated to ensure a prosperous, digitalized and cyber-resilient aviation industry.

About the World Economic Forum 2020

This year’s meeting brings together nearly 3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World, participants will focus on defining new models for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world. For further information, please click here.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas – the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

Notes to editors:


The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. ( www.weforum.org).

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