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New EUROCONTROL #RTAB podcast: Luis Gallego, CEO of IAG (International Airlines Group), shares his views on leadership, teamwork and sustainability

Luis Gallego

Our new EUROCONTROL "Raising the Aviation Bar" podcast features an in-depth chat with one of Europe’s most-experienced aviation leaders – Luis Gallego, CEO of IAG (International Airlines Group). Luis took over as CEO of IAG in 2020, after a wide-ranging career in the aviation industry including the Spanish Air Force, INDRA, senior management roles at Air Nostrum, Vueling and Iberia. IAG is one of the world’s largest airline groups – flying to more than 250 destinations and carrying around 95 million passengers in 2022 – and the parent company of airlines such as Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling. IAG is also pursuing an acquisition of Air Europa, in order to further develop the Madrid hub, currently the fifth busiest airport in Europe, but with the potential to grow.

In our podcast we get a glimpse into an upbringing that led Luis to take an interest in aviation already at a young age – as well as what he thinks is most important about leadership. Recognised in the industry for his role in transforming Iberia into one of the most punctual airlines in the world, Gallego reveals that having a common objective is fundamental for the kind of teamwork that ultimately leads to success, as well IAG’s unique decentralised business model that allows each airline to maintain its own identity within the Group, while sharing certain services such as procurement or fleet. And, as a big fan of Real Madrid and Getafe, he shared his view that football can teach people a lot that is relevant for business: having a shared vision where each member knows their role and contributes to the collective success, as well as the importance of being resilient and embracing change and challenges.

The podcast covers sustainability, a key strategic priority for IAG. The Group, Luis explains, is investing significantly in SAF with currently $865 million in future purchases and investments committed as at the end of 2022. IAG is committed to using 10% of SAF by 2030. The Group is also looking into other technologies such as hydrogen and carbon removals, pushing forward system-wide change.

We also look at one of the biggest challenges facing many industries but especially aviation: shortages of skilled workers. For Luis, it is the attractiveness of IAG’s business that sets it apart, with a strategy that enables employees to work in a wide range of different locations with different cultures, and to the graduate and diversity and inclusion programmes IAG’s airlines offer like Iberia’s "Quiero Ser", a programme promoting aeronautical professions among young women. Across the group’s airlines, 10,000 new people were hired in 2023.

The EUROCONTROL #RTAB podcast interview with Luis Gallego is available on Podbean, Spotify, Google and Apple podcast platforms!

Podcast

Raising the Aviation Bar

EUROCONTROL's 'Raising the Aviation Bar' podcast series explores the stories of experts and business leaders who are dealing with some of the key challenges aviation is currently facing.

Raising the Aviation Bar

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