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Willy Walsh, the former chief executive of IAG, is set to become a new director of IATA. Walsh is taking over the role of Alexandre de Juniac on 31st March 2021.
The former Air France-KLM chairman De Juniac informed everyone about his decision to leave well in advance to allow for a smooth responsibilities transition. During the annual meeting on 24th November 2020, the IATA Board of Governors recommended Willie Walsh for taking De Juniac’s seat. Willie Walsh will become the eighth Director-General of the Association.
“I did not come to this decision lightly. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the global air transport industry—what I call the business of freedom—as the head of IATA. Over the last years IATA has strategically increased its relevance as the voice of the global airline industry. This has been evident in the COVID-19 crisis. IATA has set the course to restore air connectivity amid the pandemic with systematic pre-departure testing. We are well into preparations to fulfill critical vaccine distribution needs. In parallel, we have restructured IATA to survive the crisis and be ready to support the industry recovery with an organization dimensioned to serve a smaller industry. And we have a motivated team that is determined to get the job done. The building blocks for an industry recovery are in place. And now is the right time to hand over IATA’s leadership for the long process of recovery,” said de Juniac.
An airline executive Willie Walsh with over 40 years of experience is stepping into the role when the future of the aviation industry is atypically uncertain. It is estimated the airlines will face a loss of US$80 billion this year, and the new IATA’s Director-General will have to deal with the challenges.
IATA, representing 85% of the air companies worldwide, acts as a trade body for the world’s airlines and improves the regulatory and legal environment.