Shaking the Skies

A book about the transformation of the airline industry

Shaking the Skies is one of those rare books that changes the way you think about an industry. The book explains the most critical decade in aviation post 9-11, taking the reader through the most dramatic moments from the man who handled $2.5 trillion, made aviation safer and greener, and introduced with e-ticketing a new way of flying.

About the Author: Giovanni Bisignani

Giovanni Bisignani was formerly the Director General and CEO of The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a post he held until July 2011. During his time with IATA, Bisignani played a key role in reshaping the aviation industry and its governance. Whilst leading IATA, he set about modernising the industry and steered airlines through crippling global crises.

In 2004 Bisignani introduced ‘The Simplifying the Business Initiative’, which modernised the industry by improving customer convenience and reducing costs. He enhanced the travel experience for passengers by eliminating 400 million paper tickets from the travel process, whilst introducing self-service kiosks at airports and making online check-in possible. He also championed a new risk-based security concept which focused on scrutinising people rather than just objects. At his last IATA AGM in 2011, Bisignani presented the ‘Checkpoint of the Future’, a concept which has now been accepted by the United States, the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The ‘Checkpoint of the Future’ will be introduced in phases beginning in 2014. He also publicised the work of IATA, using advocacy and lobbying in order to ensure that governments focused on long-term issues for aviation. His particular interest in the environment, led him to drive the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020 and to cut aviation’s carbon emissions in half by 2050. Previously he has served as CEO of SM Logistics and Alitalia Airlines, Chairman of The Association of European Airlines and launched the European travel portal Opodo, serving as the company’s CEO. Currently Bisignani serves on the Board of Directors of: Safran in France; AirCastle in the United States and NATS in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Bisignani is also a visiting professor at the School of Engineering at Cranfield University

In his early professional years Bisignani worked for ENI and Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale – IRI. Bisignani graduated from the Sapienza University of Rome and later completed his studies at the Harvard Business School.

Related Videos

Explore a high point in Giovanni’s career. View the interview with BBC journalist AaronHeslehurst at the 2011IATA AGM conference.

Richard Quest of CNN Interviews Giovanni Bisignani

NTU Presents ‘Shaking the Skies’ by Giovanni Bisignani
Nanyang Business School Presents ‘Shaking the Skies’ by Giovanni Bisignani and Co-Published by Gold Mercury International

Book Reviews by leading global industry and aviation CEOs

Congratulations on a great record. Too often these organizations don’t change the shape of the industry. Fortunately, they had you, and in this case, you did”.

 Jack Welch, Former Chairman & CEO of GE

Congratulations on a great record. Too often these organizations don’t change the shape of the industry. Fortunately, they had you, and in this case, you did”.

Alan Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company

“For a period of years, I had regarded reading IATA’s Annual Report as a possible antidote for sleeplessness. Then, things changed-it kept me awake! This transformation was caused by the selection of the hyperactive, visionary and thoroughly delightful Giovanni Bisignani as IATA’s Director General. Shaking the Skies is not only a leadership primer on how to revivify a perhaps somewhat somnolent trade association into a global changed leader but also a truly enjoyable and often amusing ‘peek behind the scenes’ at global aviation, national leaders of consequence and international negotiations. Giovanni truly set off a ‘bomb in the church’ while chanting his war cry of ‘basta’”!

Herb Kelleher, Co-founder and former Chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines

“Thank you, Giovanni, for an exciting non-stop-flight through the recent history of aviation and for sharing your vision, your thoughts and your extraordinary experience with us. Your book is a must have and a must read for airliners and aviation enthusiasts!”

Dr. Christoph Franz, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO Lufthansa Group

“Giovanni takes us backstage in the airline industry in an entertaining book that details the many changes in aviation during a turbulent 10 years. It is a story for those who want not only to transform complex organizations but also understand how to implement the changes. It is not to be missed.”

Enrique Cueto, CEO LATAM Airlines Group

“Shaking the Skies provides a compelling account of the enormous drive and energy that turned an insignificant airline association into the globally recognised leader of change that IATA is today. Under Mr Bisignani’s leadership, the industry has achieved an unprecedented unity of purpose in dealing with the many issues that challenge its successful operation. Shaking the Skies shares his critical insights into the day-to-day business of airlines and many years of experience which enrich this turnaround story, but above all the reason why everyone still loves to fly.”

James Hogan, President & CEO of Etihad Airways

“Through his vision and drive Giovanni Bisignani transformed IATA from just another international organisation into a force respected by governments around the world. Essential reading on aviation and modern leadership.”

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas

Book launch event London, UK

London, Monday 20th May, 5pm start
Royal Aeronautical Society
4 Hamilton Place, London, W1J 7BQ


17.00 – 17.30
Arrival & Registration

17.30 – 17.40
Introduction: Simon Luxmoore- CEO of The Royal Aeronautical Society.

17.40 – 17.50
Opening Remarks: Nicolas De Santis- President of Gold Mercury International & Co-Publisher of ‘Shaking the Skies’.

17.50 – 18.00
Book Launch: Robert A. Milton- Chairman, President & CEO of ACE Aviation Holdings & former Chairman, President and CEO of Air Canada presents Giovanni Bisignani’s book.

18.00 – 18.30
Book Discussion: ‘Shaking the Skies’. Giovanni Bisignani, Former CEO of IATA discusses his book ‘Shaking the Skies’ with Kevin Done, former Aerospace Correspondent at The Financial Times.

18.30 – 19.00
Q & A from the Audience: Moderator- Max Kingsley-Jones, Editor Airline Business.

19.00 – 20.00
Drinks Reception & Networking

Event Speakers

Giovanni Bisignani

Former Director General and CEO of IATA

Robert A. Milton

President & CEO ACE Aviation Holdings | Former Chairman, President & CEO Air Canada

Simon Luxmoore

CEO of The Royal Aeronautical SocietyI am text block. Click edit button to change this text.

Nicolas De Santis

President and Secretary General of Gold Mercury International

Max Kingsley-Jones

Editor of Airline Business

Book events in key global cities

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, 23rd May 2014
Queens, United States

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 28th March 2014
Daytona Beach, United States

Beta Gamma Sigma, New York, 27th March 2014
New York, United States

Wings Club AGM, New York, 26th March 2014
New York, United States

Cranfield University, United Kingdom, 18th February 2014
Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom, 9th December 2013
Intercontinental City Hotel, Park Lane

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20th November 2013
Café Tortoni

Santiago, Chile – 18th November 2013
Universidad Adolfo Ibañez

Singapore – 18th October 2013
Shangri-La Hotel, Nanyang Business School

Cape Town, South Africa – 4th June 2013
IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM)

London, United Kingdom -20th May 2013
Royal Aeronautical Society

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