By Elizabeth Cernik
An Arab aviation veteran has been appointed chairman of IATA’s board of governors.
Samer Majali, Royal Jordanian Airlines' CEO, will oversee the International Air Transport Association until next June. He succeeds Fernando Pinto, CEO of TAP Portugal, who served as chairman from June 2007.
Majali has been in the industry 29 years and managed Royal Jordanian since 2001. He takes over during a difficult period for the industry, with several airlines and operators struggling to overcome increased fuel prices, which are rising at record levels.
Majali said that the year's agenda has several challenges. "Change must be even more aggressive," he added. "Finding even more efficiency gains, not just for airlines but throughout the industry value chain, is crucial for our survival."
The new IATA chairman added governments must replace "punitive" emissions trading schemes with real measures for cutting CO2.
"A Single European Sky is critical," he said. "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."
Once Majali steps down as IATA chairman next year, he will be replaced by Tony Tyler, CEO of Cathay Pacific.