The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo has assumed her duties as Chair of the IATA Board of Governors (BoG) for a one-year term, effective from the conclusion of the 79th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Istanbul, Türkiye on 5 June.
Makolo is the 81st chair of the IATA BoG and the first woman to take on this role. She has served on the BoG since November 2020. She succeeds Pegasus Airlines Chairperson of the Board Mehmet Tevfik Nane who will continue to serve on the BoG.
“I am honoured and pleased to take on this important role. IATA plays a critical role for all airlines—big and small, various business models, and in all corners of the world,” said Makolo. “Leading a medium-sized airline in Africa gives me a unique perspective on issues that airlines hold in common.
“At the top of the agenda are decarbonization, improving safety, the transformation to modern airline retailing, and ensuring we have cost-efficient infrastructure. I am particularly pleased to be taking on this role as IATA launches Focus Africa with the aim of unifying the continent’s stakeholders so that together we can strengthen the contribution of aviation to Africa’s social and economic development.”
Makolo started her aviation career in 2017 when she was appointed as RwandAir’s Deputy CEO in Charge of Corporate Affairs. She was named CEO in April 2018. Yvonne brought 11 years of commercial expertise to her current role, having joined telecommunications company MTN Rwanda in 2006, rising to the positions of Chief Marketing Officer and Acting CEO.
Under her leadership, RwandAir has become one of Africa’s fastest growing airlines with a fleet of 13 modern aircraft. She has led cultural change at the airline with a focus on inclusion and diversity and growing the number of women in under-represented roles.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General: “I look forward to working with Yvonne as we tackle the important challenges of sustainability, rebuilding the aviation workforce while growing diversity and reinforcing the global standards that are so critical for efficient connectivity. I want to thank Mehmet for his strong support and leadership over the past year as the industry emerged from the COVID-19 and in particular, his encouragement in working for greater gender diversity,”
Chair Elect and Board of Governors Appointments
IATA announced that Pieter Elbers, CEO of IndiGo, will serve as Chair of the BoG from June 2024, following Makolo’s term.