The annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has elected RwadAir’s Chief Executive Officer, Yvonne Makolo, as the group’s next chair. Makolo will replace Mehmet Nane who secured a one-year term from this year, making her the first female chair in the history of IATA. She will assume the chair in June 2023 during the organisation’s annual general meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, described Makolo’s election as a positive development in the body’s efforts for gender diversity. “Obviously that means Yvonne will be the first female chair of IATA in our history and I think that’s another positive step in our efforts to promote gender diversity, not just within IATA but within the industry as well,” he commented. Contacted for a comment, Makolo said:This is a great testament of IATA’s commitment to gender diversity in the aviation industry. We are going through an extremely challenging time for the aviation industry and I look forward to working with the board to make travel ever safer, sustainable and more enjoyable for all our customers. It’s a great honour to have been elected as board chair-elect of the IATA Board of Governors. I thank my fellow board members for their confidence in me, as well as Rwandair staff and stakeholders for their steadfast support,” she added. Makolo is an IT by profession who currently serves as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the national carrier. She was appointed to that position in April 2018. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy CEO responsible for corporate affairs at the same airline. She has specialized training in information technology and has worked as a software developer, in Canada and Rwanda.