‘Man with vision’ Walsh named oneworld chairman

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways/Iberia parent, International Airlines Group (IAG), is to take over as chairman of the oneworld alliance.

He succeeds American Airlines’ chairman, Tom Horton, who has held the position since December 2011.

oneworld said Walsh would act as ‘first among equals’ of the chief executives of its member airlines, starting his tenure as the alliance completes its biggest expansion to date: TAM Airlines and US Airways will both join on 31 March and SriLankan Airlines on 1 May.

oneworld currently comprises airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, together with more than 30 of their affiliated carriers.

With the latest additions, the alliance will serve nearly 1,000 airports in 150 countries, carrying over 500m passengers a year on a combined fleet of 3,300 aircraft. It will operate more than 14,000 daily flights and generate over US$140bn annual revenues.

oneworld chief executive, Bruce Ashby, said: ‘We thank Tom Horton sincerely for his leadership of oneworld during a period of unprecedented growth for the alliance and at a time when his own American Airlines has been undergoing its merger with US Airways.

‘He has played a pivotal role in strengthening oneworld also through the significant deepening of cooperation between American and so many of our other member airlines in recent years.

‘We are fortunate to have, in Willie Walsh, a man with the vision, determination and overall skills and capabilities to lead us forward in the next phase of our journey to establish oneworld firmly as the first choice alliance for frequent international travellers the world over.’

Walsh became chief executive of IAG in January 2011, joining from BA, where he had been chief executive since October 2005.
Before that he was chief executive of Aer Lingus, then also part of oneworld. Walsh joined Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot and worked his way through the ranks to become a captain in 1990.

He began his move to management in 1989, fulfilling various roles in the flight operations department, and in 1998 was appointed chief executive of Futura, Aer Lingus’s Spanish charter carrier.

He returned to Dublin in 2000 to become chief operating officer of Aer Lingus and was appointed chief executive in October 2001.

Sourced by e-tid

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