Willie Walsh joins IATA as Director General

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Willie Walsh, former Chief Executive Officer at International Airlines Group (IAG), has become the eighth Director General of International Air Transport Association (IATA), effective Thursday. He will replace incumbent Alexandre de Juniac.

The IATA Board of Governors had during the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November, last year, recommended the appointment of Walsh as the Director General of the organisation.

Walsh, who joined IATA after a 40-year career in the airline industry, retired from the International Airlines Group (IAG) in September 2020 after serving as CEO since its inception in 2011. Prior to that, Walsh had hold the position of CEO at British Airways from 2005-2011 and at Aer Lingus during 2001-2005.

He also served on the IATA Board of Governors between 2005 and 2018, including serving as Chairperson from 2016-2017.

Walsh’ appointment comes at a time when the aviation industry is adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dented demand amid travel restrictions by certain countries to contain the spread of the virus.

“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,” Walsh said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

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