Airfreight industry shocked by sudden departure of Glyn Hughes at IATA.

“A voluntary departure scheme was announced as part of this process for which Glyn applied and was accepted.

“He will remain with IATA until January 2021. During this time there will be no change in the support, advice and services IATA provides while we work to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities following his departure.”

Hughes took over from Des Vertannes in 2015 and is known for his one liners and quips. He has overseen many IATA initiatives over the last few years, mainly centred around the ongoing drive to digitalise the industry.

Covid-19 will challenge governments and air lines to comply with the global vaccination requirements.

He joined IATA in 1991 to enhance and expand the Cargo Accounts Settlement Service (CASS) and led many IATA Cargo initiatives, including being part of the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group steering committee, before taking the top job.

Hughes leaves as the air cargo industry faces a number of challenges: the Covid crisis has seen air cargo capacity slashed by around 30% while a huge air cargo operation to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine looms on the horizon.

“There will need to be nearly 8bn doses and distributed around the world,” explained Hughes at a recent press conference. “The volume of that size of shipment would fill more than 8,000 B747 aircraft — and that’s just under the assumption that a single dose is required. If more than one dose is required then you can see that there will be a considerable burden on the aviation sector to help transport these critical commodities around the planet.”

He urged governments to start acting now by collaborating with vaccine manufacturers to find out potential storage and shipping requirements.