Willie Walsh has officially taken on the role of director general of the International Air Transport Association.
He succeeds Alexandre de Juniac.
The former chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) said: “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 organisation 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,” said Walsh.
Walsh was confirmed as IATA’s eighth director general by the 76th annual general meeting in November.
He joins IATA after a 40-year career in the airline industry.
Walsh retired from the IAG in September after serving as its chief executive since its inception in 2011.
Prior to that he was chief executive of British Airways (2005-2011) and chief executive of Aer Lingus (2001-2005)
He began his career in aviation at Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot.
Walsh is deeply familiar with IATA, having served on the IATA board of governors for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, including serving as chair (2016-2017).
He will work from the association’s executive office in Geneva, Switzerland.