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5 APRIL 2021


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Article from BTNews 5 APRIL 2021

ON THE SOAPBOX: Willie Walsh – chairman and chief executive, IATA

Best known as CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) retiring in September 2020 after serving as CEO since its inception in 2011, Willie Walsh 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.

Best known as CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) retired in September 2020 after serving as its CEO since its inception in 2011, Willie Walsh 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.

On 1 April he took up his new position succeeding the former Air France chairman Alexandre de Juniac, who had held the reigns at the industry trade organisation since 2016.

Previously Willie Walsh had served on the IATA Board of Governors for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, including as chair (2016-2017). He will work from the Association’s Executive Office in Geneva (Switzerland).

“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.”

Also see in this week’s BTN IATA praises Antigen tests.

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Sally Pavey, England

We note that Willie Walsh mentioned nothing about airlines being good neighbours in seeking to reduce noise and the impact on communities wellbeing

Jill Smith, York

IATA needs a leader with fire. But it is a strange job and Willie will need all his skills.

Jack Walsh, Windsor

I for one did not agree with the concept of a Spanish/Irish BA, an airline I once worked for, nor many of Willie Walsh’s idea. But I wish him luck in his new job as the leader of the world’s air carriers.

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