The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that Alexandre de Juniac, the current director general,  will step down from his role on March 31st.

de Juniac made known his intention to step down from the association several months ago which enabled a search process to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

In his place, the IATA bored has recommended former International Airlines Group chief executive, Willie Walsh.

“I did not come to this decision lightly.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the global air transport industry – what I call the business of freedom – as the head of IATA.

“Over the last years IATA has strategically increased its relevance as the voice of the global airline industry.

“This has been evident in the Covid-19 crisis,” said de Juniac.

He added: “IATA has set the course to restore air connectivity amid the pandemic with systematic pre-departure testing.

“We are well into preparations to fulfil critical vaccine distribution needs.

“In parallel, we have restructured IATA to survive the crisis and be ready to support the industry recovery with an organization dimensioned to serve a smaller industry.”

De Juniac joined IATA in September 2016 from Air France-KLM where he was chief executive.

“Alexandre has led our industry in extraordinary times.

“Under his leadership IATA has become a stronger and an even more relevant organisation.

“I am joined by all the members of the board of governors in thanking him for his service and wishing him well in his next endeavours.

“I am also pleased that we are able to present a very capable candidate to the IATA annual general meeting to succeed Alexandre in this important role.

“I am convinced that Willie will be a great director general for IATA,” said Carsten Spohr, chair of the IATA board.