Willie Wash takes over as IATA Director General

April 4, 2021 / Comments Off on Willie Wash takes over as IATA Director General

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Thursday 30th March 2021 that Willie Walsh has officially taken on the role of Director General of the organization. He succeeds Alexandre de Juniac. 

In a statement to the press, Walsh expressed his profound passion for the aviation industry and lauded IATA for the critical work it does on behalf of its members, especially 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,” said Walsh.

Walsh thanked Alexander de Junac, his predecessor for leaving behind a strong organization and a motivated team. He said that together with the IATA team, his focus will be on restoring the freedom of movement that airlines provide around the world.

“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,” he said.

Walsh noted that in normal times, over four billion travelers depend on aviation each year and the distribution of vaccines put the value of efficient air cargo in the spotlight. He said that airlines are committed to delivering safe, efficient, and sustainable services.

“My goal is to ensure that IATA is a forceful voice supporting the success of global air transport. We will work with supporters and critics alike to deliver on our commitments to an environmentally sustainable airline industry. It’s my job to make sure that governments, which rely on the economic and social benefits our industry generates, also understand the policies we need to deliver those benefits,” he added.

Walsh was confirmed as IATA’s 8th Director General by the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting on 24 November 2020. He joins IATA after a 40-year career in the airline industry. Walsh retired from the International Airlines Group (IAG) in September 2020 after serving as its CEO since its inception in 2011.

Prior to that he was CEO of British Airways (2005-2011) and CEO 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.

Covid-19: Kenya added to UK’s ‘red list’ travel ban

The United Kingdom has banned people travelling from Kenya from entering England starting April 9 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Kenya is among four counties that have been added to the UK’s red list amid concerns about new Covid-19 variants.

Travellers, who have departed from or transited through Kenya, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.

Only British and Irish citizens or residents will be allowed to enter the country from these nations from 4am on Friday April 9.

They will be required to arrive into a designated port.

In an update on the GOV.UK website, the UK said some travellers from Kenya have tested positive for the South African variant.

“Of the average of 550 people that travel from Kenya to the UK each week, a significant number are testing positive on Day 2. Nearly a third of those positive have been carrying the B.1.351 variant, which originated in South Africa,” the update said. 

The update said no direct flight bans from these countries will be put in place, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.

The British High Commission in Kenya in a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the directive is a temporary measure that will be kept under review.

“The travel restrictions will only remain in place whilst the level of risk is assessed to justify these measures,” the commission said. 

Source: The East African