A conversation with the Secretary General of ICAO


On 1 August 2021, Juan Carlos Salazar began his three-year term as the new Secretary General of ICAO. In his more than 26 years of experience in international civil aviation, he served in various roles that include air transport policy, aviation management, and multilateral transport negotiations in Latin America and the Middle East.

Since January 2018, Mr. Salazar served as Director-General of Civil Aviation of Colombia at Aerocivil, a complex civil aviation organization with more than 3,100 employees and 12 trade unions. He was in charge of a network of 72 public airports and of the sole air navigation service provider in a country that serves as a key hub for air routes in Latin America. He has also served as Chief Executive Officer of the Colombian Civil Aviation Organisation and as Senior Advisor to the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Salazar has extensive professional experience in the administration of complex organizations at national, regional, and international levels.

Mr. Salazar holds master’s degrees in public administration (Harvard University) and International Air and Space Law (IASL, McGill University) and speaks fluent Spanish, English, French and Arabic. While his impressive professional portfolio includes extensive experience working with civil aviation authorities around the world, Mr. Salazar also maintains close ties with academia.

Before taking on his role at ICAO, Mr Salazar participated in an interactive webinar that was hosted by McGill University. Commended for his exuberance, enthusiasm and vibrancy, as a student he was recognized for his sociable nature and abilities as an effective communicator and leader and was elected to serve as class president. In the years since, he has guest-lectured on air and space law and air carrier liability at the IASL and in Colombia.

Mr Salazar is recognized as an effective negotiator and consensus builder, skills that will serve him well in his new role as the Secretary General of ICAO. During the McGill webinar, he shared his vision of ICAO’s role in navigating civil aviation in the new normal of the future and took questions from audience participants. This was an interesting, engaging discussion; we are pleased to be able to share the McGill Webinar in its entirety, here.