Gary Doernhoefer spends a lot of time on airplanes. That's inevitable for the general counsel of an airline industry association with headquarters in Montreal and Geneva and offices in 60 countries. Add in a commuter marriage to an Ohio college professor currently teaching in Stockholm, and you can see the frequent flyer miles piling up.
But Doernhoefer isn't complaining. Being up in the air is just fine with him.
Q: What was it like working at American?
A: The airline industry attracts very bright people. So you have smart clients and really talented colleagues, which makes it a very attractive place to work. And the issues are really cutting edge. Within a few years I was working on the defense of an alleged price-fixing scheme, industry-wide, using the computer systems to signal one another.
Q: What is the role of IATA?
A: It really divides into two functions. One is a traditional trade association role. We have a dynamic director-general who takes on issues on behalf of the industry on a global basis. A great example is the recent volcano eruption. Our position has been that the governments and air traffic management in Europe overreacted, closing vast stretches of airspace that was unaffected by the ash cloud and disrupting air traffic across Europe.