Willie Walsh takes over as IATA Director General
GENEVA: Aviation expert and veteran Willie Walsh has officially taken on the role of Director General of the International Air Transport Association succeeding Alexandre de Juniac, IATA announced.
Walsh was confirmed as IATA’s 8th Director General by the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting on 24 November 2020. He joins IATA after a 40-year career in the airline industry.
Walsh is deeply familiar with IATA, having served on the IATA Board of Governors for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, including serving as Chair (2016-2017). He will work from the Association’s Executive Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
Walsh retired from the International Airlines Group (IAG) in September 2020 after serving as its CEO since its inception in 2011. Prior to that, he was CEO of British Airways (2005-2011) and CEO of Aer Lingus (2001-2005). He began his career in aviation at Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot.
“I am passionate about our industry and about the critical work that IATA does on behalf of its members, never more so than during the COVID-19 crisis. IATA has been at the forefront of efforts to restart global connectivity, including developing the IATA Travel Pass. Less visible but of equal importance, airlines continue to rely on IATA’s financial settlement systems, Timatic and other vital services to support their day-to-day operations,” said Walsh in a statement.
“I am grateful to Alexandre for leaving behind a strong organization and a motivated team. Together, the IATA team is absolutely focused on restoring the freedom of movement that airlines provide to billions of people around the world. That means your freedom to visit friends and family, to meet critical business partners, to secure and retain vital contracts, and to explore our wonderful planet,” he added.
The IATA Director General said in normal times, more than four billion travelers would have been served in the global aviation industry had it not been for the pandemic.
“My goal is to ensure that IATA is a forceful voice supporting the success of global air transport. We will work with supporters and critics alike to deliver on our commitments to an environmentally sustainable airline industry. It’s my job to make sure that governments, which rely on the economic and social benefits our industry generates, also understand the policies we need to deliver those benefits,” said Walsh.