South Korea will host the general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the first time next year, which will be chaired by Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho, who also owns the country’s flag carrier Korean Air Lines.
Founded in 1945, IATA now represents 280 commercial airlines from 120 countries comprising 83 percent of global air traffic. It is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and Geneva, Switzerland and runs 54 offices in 53 countries. It is a powerful trade association in the aviation industry that operates its own audit program IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for member airlines and sets up fare structure based on mileages and fuel prices.
The annual IATA general meeting is the world’s largest gathering of major airlines from around the globe that invites executives of member airlines, aircraft manufactures and related firms. Major topics for this year’s meeting that was held in Sydney, Australia on June 3 to 5 were biofuels, airport privatization, aviation security and data utilization.
Cho has been serving on the board of the IATA governors as a member of the IATA’s strategy and policy committee, its highest decision-making body. As Seoul hosts the next year’s meeting, Cho will serve as chairman of the meeting as chief executive of Korean Air Lines.
However, it remains to be seen whether he would be able to assume the role because he and his family members have been under wide-ranging investigations for a number of charges including tax evasion, power abuse and embezzlement.
The nation’s flag carrier Korean Air joined the IATA in January 1989 as the first Korean member, and has been serving on four committees out of total six.
By Moon Ji-woong and Choi Mira
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