IATA has appointed a notable new chairman to its board: Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker who will the assume the duty on a one-year term effective from the close of IATA’s 2018 AGM in Sydney.
Al Baker will succeed Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines, as Chairman. He will be the first CEO of Qatar Airways to assume the role of chairman.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said, “I am delighted to be here in Sydney and honored to be leading the IATA Board of Governors as Chairman for the year ahead.
To be nominated to such a prestigious leadership position in the industry is a great honour, made all the more pertinent in the difficult circumstances in which Qatar Airways currently operates.
“I look forward to continuing my work in the coming year for our great aviation industry, connecting safely the peoples of the world, a sector which will only continue to grow in the years ahead, and one in which I am most proud to work and represent one of the world leading airlines.”
“I want to thank Goh Choon Phong for his strong support and leadership over the past year. He has led major changes in IATA’s governance that will enable the association to work even more closely with its members.
Under his leadership the industry approved a major modernization of our settlement systems, and made excellent progress on transformative initiatives such as New Distribution Capability and ONE Order.
Choon Phong’s insights were particularly helpful as we contended with the PEDs ban and growing infrastructure capacity shortfalls in key regions, while also working with governments to prepare for the arrival of the historic CORSIA program to help airlines manage their future emissions growth,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“I am confident that Akbar will be a strong voice on behalf of the Business of Freedom in the face of growing challenges including creeping re-regulation and a movement away from open borders and toward trade protectionism and restrictions on the free movement of people.
I look forward to working with him on these and other key industry issues,” said de Juniac.
Al Baker made headlines just after the announcement at the AGM by stating his position as CEO at the airline could only be inhabited by a man. He stated that only men could rise to the challenge of CEO. The comment came amidst panel discussions on gender diversity in aviation.