The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA) has announced its executive director of nine years, Barry Abrams, is to leave the role.
He will be replaced by Stephen Pearse, a former managing director of CAPA and vice president of Emirates.
BARA is the main organisation representing international airlines in Australia and was a vocal critic of how COVID restrictions affected its members during the pandemic.
It now represents 33 airlines that together make up more than two-thirds of Australia’s international flights.
Pearse has served as a former executive committee member and chairperson of BARA, as well as holding senior positions at Fiji Airlines, United Airlines, and British Airways.
He is also a former graduate of the University of Cambridge and studied for an MBA at London Business School.
Current BARA chairperson Tim-Clyde Smith said, “Australia’s international aviation industry faces many challenges as it recovers from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“BARA is pleased to have appointed Stephen Pearse as the executive director and advocate for international airlines in supporting industry recovery and future growth.”
During the pandemic, BARA criticised the Western Australian government for its backflip on its planned border reopening and urged an earlier ending to the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for unvaccinated arrivals.
It comes after Australian Aviation reported this week how international travellers entering Australia would no longer be required to be vaccinated, but would still be required to wear a mask on inbound flights.
Minister for Health, Mark Butler, said the decision to lift the requirement from Wednesday was based on advice from the country’s chief medical officer.
The outgoing rule led to a diplomatic incident earlier this year when tennis player Novak Djokovic was allowed into the country to play in the Australian Open, before being effectively deported a week later.
“The Australian Government makes decisions on COVID-related issues after considering the latest medical advice,” said Minister Butler.
“Unvaccinated Australians, as well as certain groups of visa holders, have been able to travel to Australia for some time.
“We will continue to act on the medical advice as needed.”
The federal government progressively increased travel restrictions from late March 2020 as COVID cases began to rise around the globe.