Istanbul - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced today that Royal Jordanian Airlines CEO, Samer Majali, commenced his one-year term as the Chairman of the IATA Board of Governors. Majali succeeds Fernando Pinto, CEO of TAP Portugal who served as Chairman from June 2007.

Majali, is a 29-year veteran of the air transport industry who has served as CEO of Royal Jordanian since 2001. He successfully led the airline through one of its most challenging periods as it prepared for a successful privatisation. 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 - 100% e-ticketing. But there is no time to lose in pushing forward with the next phase of Simplifying the Business - Fast Travel,” said Majali.

Majali noted that change must also involve governments. “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 CEO 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 US$130 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 in June 2009. Tyler will bring a unique perspective from Asia-Pacific, which will soon become the largest aviation market in the world.

The announcements were made as the IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit concluded in Istanbul today. The 900 delegates gathered for the event discussed the industry's most important issues, with executive briefing sessions on the environment and industry innovation.

For more information, please contact:
IATA Corporate Communications
Tel +41 22 770 2967

Notes for Editors:

  • Among the last orders of business at the 2008 AGM was approval for the next World Air Transport Summit and IATA Annual General Meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in June 2009. "We appreciate the kind offer of Idris Jala, CEO of Malaysia Airlines to meet in Kuala Lumpur next year - a vibrant economic and cultural centre," said Bisignani.
  • Membership of the Board of Governors at the close of the 64th Annual General Meeting:
    • Mr Valery M. Okulov, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Aeroflot
    • Mr Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Air France
    • Mr Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, British Airways
    • Mr Fernando Conte, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Iberia
    • Mr Peter Hartman, President and Chief Executive Officer, KLM
    • Mr Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa AG
    • Mr Christoph Franz, President and Chief Executive Officer, SWISS
    • Mr Fernando Pinto, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,TAP Portugal
    • Mr Temel Kotil, President and Chief Executive Officer, Turkish Airlines
    • Mr Montie Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada
    • Mr Gerard Arpey, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines
    • Mr David Bronczek, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fedex Express
    • Mr Douglas Steenland, President and Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Airlines
    • Mr Glenn F. Tilton, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Airlines
    • Mr Andrés Conesa, Chief Executive Officer, Aeromexico
    • Mr Pedro Heilbron, Executive President and Chief Executive Officer, Copa Airlines
    • Mr Enrique Cueto, Chief Executive Officer, LAN Airlines
    • Mr Tony Tyler, Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific Airways
    • Mr Liu Shaoyong, Chairman, China Southern Airlines
    • Mr Haruka Nishimatsu, President and Chief Executive Officer, Japan Airlines
    • Mr Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways (India) Ltd.
    • Mr Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Korean Air
    • Datuk Idris Jala, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Airlines
    • Mr Geoff Dixon, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director,Qantas Airways Limited
    • Mr Chew Choon Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines Limited
    • Mr Sanjay Bhuckory, Chairman, Air Mauritius
    • Captain Tawfik Assy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Egyptair
    • Mr Titus Tukero Naikuni, Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director, Kenya Airways
    • Mr Samer Majali, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Jordanian
    • Eng. Khalid Abdullah Almolhem, Director General, Saudi Arabian Airlines