IATA appoints new chairman

THE International Air Transport Association announced that Royal Jordanian Airlines chief executive officer, Samer Majali, commenced his one-year term as the chairman of the IATA Board of Governors. Majali succeeds Fernando Pinto, chief executive officer TAP Portugal, who served as chairman from June 2007.

Majali takes on the chairman duties at a difficult time as the airline industry falls back into the red with fuel prices skyrocketing to unprecedented levels.

“With fuel prices at record highs, the industry faces a crisis and the agenda for the year ahead has extraordinary challenges. Change must be even more aggressive. Finding even more efficiency gains – not just for airlines but throughout the industry value chain – is crucial for our survival. We celebrated a great achievement – a 100 per cent e-ticketing. But there is no time to lose in pushing forward with the next phase of Simplifying-the-Business – Fast Travel,” said Majali.

“In the unexplored territory of astronomical fuel prices, the environment debate takes on a completely new dimension. The incentive for airlines to improve performance has never been bigger, but governments stand in our way. They must overcome their obsession with punitive and unilateral emissions trading schemes and start working on real solutions to reduce CO2. A Single European Sky is critical. Equally important is the Agenda for Freedom. To fight the many crises that beset this industry, we must liberalise. Airlines need the same commercial freedoms that almost all other businesses enjoy to manage risk and grow our businesses into truly global enterprises,” said Majali.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA director general and chief executive officer, said: “First we must thank Fernando Pinto for a job well done. His leadership over the past year helped us reach our goal to eliminate paper tickets. I am confident that Samer will provide a unique perspective and great leadership to help us deal with our growing challenges in the world of $US130 oil.”

IATA also announced the Board of Governors agreed to appoint Tony Tyler, chief executive of Cathay Pacific to serve as chairman following Majali, commencing June 2009. Tyler will bring a unique perspective from Asia-Pacific, which will soon become the largest aviation market in the world.

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