LONDON – Ex-International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh has taken the reigns at his new job as Director-General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). He succeeds outgoing DG Alexandre de Juniac.
This comes after Walsh was confirmed as the organisation’s 8th Director-General back in November last year.
Commenting on this was Mr. Walsh himself, who emphasised the need to push towards recovery.
“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.”
“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”.
“In normal times over four billion travelers depend on aviation each year and the distribution of vaccines has put the value of efficient air cargo in the spotlight. Airlines are committed to delivering safe, efficient, and sustainable services.”
“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 the 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”.Willie Walsh, The New Director-General of IATA – Quotes extracted from AviationPros: https://www.aviationpros.com/airlines/press-release/21216841/international-air-transport-association-iata-walsh-takes-the-helm-at-iata
Walsh is being seen as well-suited to this role, especially after being an active figure in the industry spanning four decades.
He began his career at Aer Lingus as a cadet pilot in 1979, and later became the CEO of the airline between 2001-2005 before taking the helm at British Airways between 2005-2011 before holding together the structure of IAG up to last year.
In terms of his history within IATA, he has served on the organisation’s board of governors for around 13 years, so he is well-familiarised with the way the organisation works.
It will be interesting to see what his perspective is on recovery going forward and whether he can push through the much-needed encouragement to the industry as we begin to go forward.
Such topics will of course be based around getting people back in the air via vaccine passports/test requirements and to bring things back to some level of normalcy going forward.