Singapore Airlines boss Goh Choon Phong takes over from IAG chief executive Willie Walsh as IATA chairman

Rebecca Smith
Goh Choon Phong oversees Singapore Airlines
Goh Choon Phong oversees Singapore Airlines (Source: Getty)

Singapore Airlines' chief executive has taken over from IAG boss Willie Walsh as chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents some 275 airlines across the globe.

Goh Choon Phong will serve a one-year term, effective from the end of this week's annual general meeting in Cancun. Goh becomes the 76th chair of the IATA board and is the third chief executive of Singapore Airlines to hold the position.

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He takes the reins from Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways' parent firm IAG, who will continue to serve on the board and the chair committee.

Goh said:

While the industry’s global profitability may be strengthening, there is more work to be done as it is not evenly spread.

Security is at the top of the agenda. We must improve our partnership with governments to meet the many emerging threats.

Additionally, I will be paying special attention to progressing preparations for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), driving the modernisation of cargo processes, and increasing transaction volumes with the new distribution capability.

We have a busy year ahead.

Goh is currently overseeing a business review at his carrier, which recently posted a surprise quarterly loss that sent shares spiralling. The airline has warned that job cuts are likely, after the airline has faced stiff global competition.

Goh said at IATA's AGM that staff have been made aware that numbers may be trimmed as Singapore Airlines commences its overhaul, but added that it was too early to provide detail on possible numbers.

Both Singapore Airlines and rival Cathay Pacific have faced turbulence from the growing presence of budget airlines, as well as the expansion of both Gulf and Chinese rivals.

IATA has also announced that Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker will take up the one-year term as chairman of the IATA board of governors from June 2018. following on from Goh.

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