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Glyn Hughes to leave as IATA’s global head of cargo in Jan 2021

September 17, 2020: The global head of cargo at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Glyn Hughes is leaving the job as part of IATA’s restructuring programme initiated in response to the critical financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Glyn Hughes, global head of cargo, International Air Transport Association (IATA).
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Glyn Hughes, global head of cargo, International Air Transport Association (IATA).

September 17, 2020: The global head of cargo at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Glyn Hughes is leaving the job as part of IATA’s restructuring programme initiated in response to the critical financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hughes is currently serving his notice period and will leave IATA at the end of January 2021 after working for three decades in IATA.

As part of the restructuring programme, IATA also introduced a voluntary redundancy and early retirement programme allowing employees to make their choice. “I applied for and have been accepted,” said Hughes. According to him, under the current restructuring programme at IATA, a number of positions will be lost and some programmes will be ceased. He is hopeful that the cargo department won’t be too badly impacted.

Hughes was appointed the global head of cargo at IATA in June 2014 succeeding Des Vertannes with the mission to continuing the modernisation of air cargo industry. He joined IATA in 1991 to enhance and expand the Cargo Accounts Settlement Service with the aim to maintain very low levels of agency default and decreasing overall operating costs for members.

When reached out to Hughes and asked him the reason for his decision to apply for the voluntary redundancy and early retirement programme he said, “It goes without saying that this was the most difficult decision as I am passionate about this great industry, the tremendous work IATA does and most importantly the great colleagues who perform that work. But life is about timing, opportunities and the ability to generate new leaders, create new ideas, follow new innovations and drive the continuing need for industry evolution and change.”

Responding to the question of his replacement he said, “It is too early to look at what happens next and that’s really for the IATA senior management to determine in terms of what direction they would like the cargo activity to go. I have committed to help the organisation through this transitional period.”

Glyn Hughes speaking during the Air Cargo India (Mumbai) in Feb 2020

On the immediate impact of IATA’s organisational resizing on the cargo programmes, Hughes said, “Some programmes will inevitably need to be accelerated such as the digital programmes whilst others perhaps need a slight refocusing. I am hopeful that the existing set of programmes will all continue.”

“The IATA Cargo Advisory Council, which is comprised of 16 of heads of cargo from some of the most significant cargo carriers have guided IATA cargo extremely effectively on the agenda that’s been established and the Covid-19 crisis has reinforced much of this agenda,” he added.

A number of people that we spoke to are baffled at the decision of Hughes and IATA accepting his application to leave under the programme. And they are sorry to see Hughes, an affable and well-liked person, go. According to them, the imminent Covid-19 vaccine movement will need a lot of care in transportation and uniform standards are quite important. Some of them are also very critical of IATA’s priority for the cargo department.


Reji John

Reji John

I am an editor with STAT Media Group. Since November 2013 I have been writing stories on how goods move from A to B, B to C and A to all the way up to Z and everything in between. The professional life before STAT Media Group was spent writing stories for newspapers, magazines, news television channel and online media. I also host two YouTube video interview series – Cargo Masterminds and Logistics Tech Dialogues. Mail me at reji@statmediagroup.com if you have some interesting leads to stories – but only about cargo.


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