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Cathay Pacific’s Tony Tyler the New IATA Chairman

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IATA confirmed this week that Cathay Pacific Airways CEO Tony Tyler has succeeded Samer Majali, CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines, as Chairman of the IATA Board of Governors.

Tyler is a 32-year veteran of the air transport industry who has served as Cathay Pacific CEO since 2007. He worked for Cathay Pacific and the Swire Group in many cities across the globe and has been on the airline’s leadership board since 1996. During that time he helped navigate the airline through several challenges including the Asian financial crisis, the SARS outbreak, and the post September 11-recovery.

Tyler takes on the IATA Chairman duties at a difficult time as the airline industry works to weather a global economic recession, which has affected passenger and cargo demand.

“The global economic meltdown is hitting the aviation industry hard. A toxic combination of low fares, a large drop in premium travel, and weak cargo loads is hitting the bottom line hard. IATA has some critical roles to play. It must protect the US$350 billion in industry cash flowing through its financial systems. It must also find even more efficiency gains—not just by airlines but throughout the industry value chain,” Tyler said.

Tyler noted that 2009 will be a critical year in the environmental debate. “As we move towards the climate change treaty negotiations in Copenhagen in December, our industry’s united four-pillar strategy on climate change makes us part of the solution. The industry is committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020, but to achieve this, we need to focus on bringing governments on board. That means turning their support for improved technology, effective operations and efficient infrastructure into action, as well as reaching agreement on a global sectoral approach to economic measures in a post-Kyoto climate framework,” Tyler said.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO added, "First, we must thank Samer Majali for a job well done. His leadership over the past year helped us navigate the industry through many challenges from record high fuel prices to today’s economic crisis. Under Samer’s leadership we had some major achievements. The deadline for IOSA registration was met by 225 IATA airlines and we built an even stronger consensus and commitment on the environment. I look forward to working closely with Tony in the coming year to meet our growing challenges with continued strong industry leadership.”

IATA’s Board of Governors also agreed to appoint David Bronczek, President and Chief Executive of FedEx Express, to serve as Chairman following Tyler. Bronczek will bring a unique perspective from the air cargo industry when his term commences in June 2010.

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