Former British Airways boss Willie Walsh has officially taken on the role of director general at Iata, the international airlines organisation.

He was confirmed as Iata’s eighth director-general in November, after retiring from his role as chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) in September.

Walsh said: “Iata has been at the forefront of efforts to restart global connectivity, including developing the Iata Travel Pass.

“Together, the Iata team is absolutely focused on restoring the freedom of movement that airlines provide to billions of people around the world.

“My goal is to ensure that Iata is a forceful voice supporting the success of global air transport.

“We will work with supporters and critics alike to deliver on our commitments to an environmentally sustainable airline industry.

“It’s my job to make sure that governments, which rely on the economic and social benefits our industry generates, also understand the policies we need to deliver those benefits.”

Walsh has a 40-year career in aviation and succeeds Alexandre de Juniac.

Before IAG, he was chief executive of British Airways (2005-2011) and chief executive of Aer Lingus (2001-2005).

He began his career in aviation at Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot.

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Willie Walsh steps down as IAG chief executive