Willie Walsh starts new role as IATA’s director general

posted on 1st April 2021 by Eddie Saunders
Willie Walsh starts new role as IATA’s director general

By Edward Robertson

Willie Walsh has taken over the leadership of IATA from Alexandre de Juniac.

The former IAG boss was confirmed as the association’s 8th director general by the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting on 24 November, 2020.

Having left IAG in September 2020, he joins the association at a time when the world’s aviation industry faces challenges that it has never encountered before in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Walsh said: “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 travellers 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 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.”

Walsh left IAG having been its CEO since its inception in 2011 and prior to that held the same role in British Airways and Aer Lingus.

He served on the IATA Board of Governors for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, and was chairman from 2016 to 2017. He will work from the association’s executive office in Geneva, Switzerland.