On 1 July 2011, Tony Tyler succeeded Giovanni Bisignani as IATA’s Director General and CEO. Tyler immediately focused on creating partnerships across the industry that would help aviation on its path to a profitable, sustainable future.

He extended this invitation for collaboration to governments, calling for better regulation, improved infrastructure and a healthier tax regime that would allow air travel to realize its potential to benefit the economy at the local and global level.

In his first AGM as IATA Director General in 2012, Tyler announced New Distribution Capability (NDC). NDC addresses airline requirements for greater product differentiation than is currently available through global distribution systems. As the NDC standard wins approval from authorities, airlines are beginning to revolutionize their relationships with customers, finally offering the personalized service that is taken for granted in many other industries.

IATA has also been active in other critical areas. Members overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution on the “Implementation of the Aviation Carbon-Neutral Growth (CNG2020) Strategy” (pdf) at the 69th IATA AGM in 2013. Later that year, States agreed on developing a global market-based measure at the 38th ICAO Assembly. The move complements progress on improving technology, operations and infrastructure in the industry’s long-established four-pillar strategy to manage aviation’s climate change impact. The implementation of a global MBM will be an essential enabler for the industry to achieve CNG2020.

At the same AGM, IATA members unanimously endorsed a set of core principles on consumer protection regulation, following a proliferation of uncoordinated and extra-territorial passenger rights regimes. The core principles called on governments to develop consumer protection regulations that are clear, unambiguous, aligned with international conventions, without extra-territorial implications, and comparable to regimes in place for other modes of transport.

As well as ensuring the correct regulatory protection, IATA continued to focus on the passenger experience. Improvements such as boarding passes on smartphones and the self-tagging of luggage have become commonplace thanks to the Fast Travel project. Choice now typifies a journey, from booking to destination.

Meanwhile, safety, always the industry’s top priority, was thrust into the spotlight in 2014 with the loss of two Malaysia Airlines aircraft. The industry responded promptly with specially-configured Task Forces. These quickly provided recommendations on aircraft tracking and information sharing about conflict zones.

Indeed, the sharing of data, not only across all aspects of safety but also throughout the value chain, promises greater harmonization in the future.

In 2014, the aviation industry celebrated 100 years of commercial flight. From a single passenger flying across Tampa Bay, the industry carries more than 3 billion passengers annually a century later.

2015 marked the association's 70th anniversary of serving airlines and passengers, ensuring the industry remains safe and sustainable.

A project started under Tony Tyler’s leadership, New Distribution Capability, typifies the value of collaboration. It brings airlines together with travel agents, technology providers, and global distribution systems.

At the end of August 2016, Tony Tyler retired. His tenure was characterized by his “force for good” messaging, derived from his first-hand observation of the benefits of aviation in Asia-Pacific during his time working for Cathay Pacific.

Aside from its significant contribution to global GDP and employment, Tyler tirelessly championed aviation’s environmental work. This culminated in an historic agreement at the 39th ICAO Assembly in 2016 for a global market-based measure to manage aviation’s carbon footprint.

Much of Tyler’s work ultimately focused on the passenger. It is a theme that has been taken up by his successor, Alexandre de Juniac, who became IATA’s seventh Director General and CEO on 1 September, 2016.

A "force for good" has evolved to "the business of freedom"' for de Juniac. Allied to messaging that calls for the speed of innovation in the industry to improve, airlines look set to continue creating value for their end customer. 

Next: the Business of Freedom

Portraits of IATA leaders since 1945