WASHINGTON – Aviation Week, in partnership with the International Aviation Club of Washington, announced today that Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is the 2011 recipient of the L. Welch Pogue Award. This prestigious annual award, named in honor of one of the founding fathers of international civil aviation, recognizes lifetime achievement in aviation. Bisignani will be recognized at a gala dinner on March 29 in Washington, D.C.
“Giovanni Bisignani has been a powerful champion for the airline industry and its customers,” said Greg Hamilton, president of Aviation Week. “Whether it is advocating for increased safety, more efficient operations or a cleaner environment, he has provided global leadership and moved the industry forward.”
Bisignani joined IATA as director general and CEO in June 2002. Since that time, he has reshaped and refocused the organization to better serve its global membership of 230 airlines with a mission to represent, lead and serve the air transport industry. Bisignani’s agenda of change has impacted the industry’s top priorities through programs such as the IATA Operational Safety Audit, the first global standard for airline safety management, and “Simplifying the Business,” which uses technology to bring convenience to travelers and cost reduction to airlines. Most recently, Bisignani put IATA in the center of the debate on climate change and aviation, uniting the industry in a drive to achieve carbon neutral growth and eventually zero-carbon emissions. Before joining IATA, Bisignani launched the Opodo travel portal and was CEO and managing director of Alitalia. He has been a member of the Pratt & Whitney Advisory Board, chairman of Galileo International, and held senior positions at Citibank.
“Welch Pogue was a man whose tremendous vision, leadership and perseverance helped make aviation safer,” said Andy Steinberg, president of the International Aviation Club of Washington and a partner at Jones Day, the law firm Pogue founded. “His work to establish a durable legal framework for international air transportation opened the door to a new era that benefits us all. Giovanni Bisignani shares a similar vision for the future of international aviation, and we applaud his service to the industry.”
Pogue was an author, lecturer, aviation statesman and attorney for several major airlines and industry groups. He also chaired the fledgling U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in 1942-1946, representing the U.S. at the historic 1944 Chicago International Civil Aviation Conference, where 55 nations determined the framework of rules and treaties that have governed international civil aviation since the end of World War II.
The Pogue Award, first presented in 1994 to Pogue, is bestowed each year to an individual who is considered a visionary and a preeminent leader of contemporary aviation. Other Pogue winners include Henri Wassenbergh, aviation scholar; Adm. Donald Engen, former director, National Air & Space Museum; Alfred Kahn, former CAB chairman; John Robson, former CAB chairman; Norman Mineta, Secretary of Transportation; Robert Francis II, former vice chairman, National Transportation Safety Board; John Kern, former VP Regulatory Compliance and Chief Safety Officer, Northwest Airlines; Delford Smith, founder and chairman, Evergreen International Aviation; Jurgen Weber, chairman & CEO, Deutsche Lufthansa AG; Robert Crandall, former chairman & CEO, American Airlines; Herb Kellerher, former chairman & CEO, Southwest Airlines; Jeffrey Shane, Under Secretary of Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation; Brian O’Keeffe, father of the Future Air Navigation System; and Helen Muir, director, Cranfield Institute for Safety, Risk and Reliability.