Giovanni Bisignani joined the International Air Transport Association as Director General & CEO in June 2002. Since that time Mr. Bisignani has completely re-shaped and re-focused the organization to better serve its global membership of 230 airlines with a mission to represent, lead and serve the air transport industry.
While securely managing IATA’s US$315 billion settlement systems, Mr. Bisignani has driven an agenda of change focused on the air transport industry’s top priorities. The ground-breaking IATA Operational Safety Audit is the first global standard for airline safety management. By making it a condition for IATA membership from 2009, IATA membership now comes with an added mark of quality.
In 2004, under Mr. Bisignani’s leadership, IATA began Simplifying the Business - bringing convenience to travelers and cost reduction to airlines through effective use of technology. The program's headline e-ticketing initiative eliminated paper tickets globally on 1June 2008. And the cargo equivalent - IATA e-freight - is modernizing the industry by removing cumbersome paper documentation.
Mr. Bisignani has engaged airports and air navigation service providers to build a new business partnership with a common goal of cost-efficiency. This has delivered billions of dollars in savings. Meanwhile, the Association’s calls for transparency and effective economic regulation of monopoly suppliers are positively impacting legislation around the globe.
Most recently Mr. Bisignani placed IATA in a leadership position in the debate on climate change and aviation. While air transport’s contribution to climate change is limited to 2% of global carbon emissions - Mr. Bisignani has united the industry in a drive to achieve carbon neutral growth and eventually zero-carbon emission technology.
Concurrent with his responsibilities at IATA, Mr. Bisignani is a Board member of NATS Holdings Limited, the air traffic services provider of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Bisignani’s career prior to joining IATA spans several industries. He launched the European travel portal Opodo and spent five years as CEO and Managing Director of Alitalia. During this time he also served on the IATA Board of Governors. He has been a Member of Pratt & Whitney Advisory Board and Chairman of Galileo International. Mr. Bisignani began his career with Citibank and then held several high-level positions at the energy company ENI and with the Italian industrial conglomerate IRI Group. He served as President of Tirrenia di Navigazione, the largest Italian ferry company and as CEO & Managing Director of SM Logistics, a group of logistics and freight forwarding companies partially owned by GE.
Mr. Bisignani studied both in Italy (Rome) and the United States (Harvard Business School). In June 2008, Mr. Bisignani received the honorary degree ‘Doctor of Science honoris causa’ by the School of Engineering at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. Born in Rome in 1946, he speaks Italian, English and Spanish. He is married with one daughter and enjoys golf, tennis and riding.