The leadership changes proposed at the 76th IATA
Annual General Meeting (AGM) have been approved.

– Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue is now the Chair of
the IATA Board of Governors, succeeding Carsten Spohr, CEO of
Lufthansa. Hayes will serve a term commencing immediately and
ending at the conclusion of the Association’s 78th Annual General
Meeting to be held in 2022. Hayes will serve an extended term as
Chair covering two AGMs due the disruption to governance cycles
necessitated by the COVID19 crisis.

– Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS Group will serve
as Chairman of the Board of Governors from the conclusion of the
78th IATA AGM in 2022 until the conclusion of the 79th AGM in
2023, following Hayes’ term.

– Willie Walsh, former CEO of International
Airlines Group (IAG) will become IATA’s 8th Director General from
1 April 2021. He will succeed

Alexandre de Juniac, who has led IATA since 2016 and who will step
down from IATA at the end of March 2021.

Aircraft flying overhead. Picture by Steven Howard of Click to enlarge.

“I am pleased to be ending my term as Chair of the
IATA Board of Governors with strong leadership in place to see
IATA through the crisis and lead the industry towards recovery,”
said Spohr. “I thank all the members of the Board of Governors and
Alexandre for their support over the 18 months that I have served
as Board of Governors Chair—particularly during the crisis period.
That support enabled extraordinary efforts by IATA during the
crisis. Those efforts have made our association even more
relevant. With today’s leadership announcements we can be assured
that IATA remains in good hands. Robin will be a strong leader for
the Board of Governors. I am confident that Alexandre will
continue to be an authoritative voice for the industry as he
completes his term as Director General and CEO. And Willie will
take up the mantle from April with the fierce leadership
determination for which he is well-known.”

Hayes was named president of JetBlue in 2014 and
appointed CEO in 2015, a position that also encompasses
subsidiaries JetBlue Technology Ventures and JetBlue Travel
Products. He joined JetBlue in 2008 as Executive Vice President
and Chief Commercial Officer after a 19-year career with British

“The expectations for IATA’s leadership are high,”
said Hayes. “Managing through the crisis is, of course, at the top
of the agenda. We must safely re-open borders and build back the
vital global connectivity that has been lost in this crisis. There
is a great expectation for aviation’s role in the global
distribution of a vaccines when they are ready. Safely re-starting
large parts of the industry after months of being grounded is a
challenge that will require IATA to work with governments
globally. And, in additional COVID19 related work, we have a clear
mandate to meet our 2050 goal to cut net aviation emissions to
half 2005 levels; and to explore pathways to net zero globally. I
look forward to driving these priorities forward with the support
of Alexandre, Willie, the Board of Governors and all our members.”

Walsh has served as CEO of International Airlines
Group (IAG) from its creation under his leadership in 2011 until
2020, CEO of British Airways as CEO (2005-2011) and CEO of Aer
Lingus (2001-2005) after a career at that airline and its
associated companies which began as a pilot cadet in 1979. Walsh
is very familiar with IATA having served on its Board of Governors
for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, including as Chair

“I am honored by the confidence placed in me to
take on the responsibilities of IATA Director General,” said
Walsh. “Associations play a critical role in our industry and none
is more important than IATA. It must be a forceful advocate for
the industry—moving forward crisis recovery priorities, ensuring
sustainability and helping airlines to survive by lowering costs,
reducing taxes and eliminating regulatory blockers to success.
Many of IATA’s services are essential for airlines to do business,
including the settlement systems which in normal times handle
about half the industry’s revenue—over $400 billion a year. And
IATA’s industry standards are essential for safe and efficient
global operations. The job of IATA Director General comes with
great responsibility for an industry that is critical to the
economic and  social wellbeing of the world. I look forward
to continuing the transformation started by Alexandre, making IATA
an even more effective association that meets the needs of its
members and exceeds their expectations.”

Alexandre de Juniac, said, “These next months will
be critical. There is much work to be done to re-open borders with
testing. And we are making preparations for the eventual global
distribution of vaccines. I look forward to working with Robin to
move as far as we can on these and other critical IATA projects
before handing over to Willie during March. In the meantime, I
congratulate Willie on his appointment, and I thank Carsten and
the other Board members for their support during my time at IATA.”

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