Former Alaska Airlines CEO Joins AirMap, Recognizes ‘Tremendous Promise’ of Drones

AirMap, a start-up providing airspace information and services for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), has appointed William S. Ayer, former chairman and CEO of Alaska Airlines, to the board of directors. Ayer has also made an investment in the company.

According to AirMap, Ayer, who has been flying since age 15, started his career as an aircraft salesman for Piper Aircraft Co. in 1979. He later founded Air Olympia, a Washington state commuter airline, before joining Horizon Air in 1982. In 1995, he joined Alaska Air Group as vice president of marketing and planning. He was appointed CEO in 2002 and became chairman in 2003.

Ayer retired in 2013 and now serves on the University of Washington’s board of regents, Honeywell Corp.’s board of directors, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s board of visitors, the National Business Aviation Association’s board of directors, and the Museum of Flight’s board of trustees.

“I admire AirMap’s team and their innovative approach to airspace management. I’m honored to be joining the board,” he says. “Drones hold tremendous promise, and I expect that they will soon benefit people in their everyday lives. The safety challenges can be overcome with fresh, technology-based approaches. The optimal airspace management solutions for drones will take cues from the way we’ve historically done air traffic management but will leverage modern, scalable technology solutions.”

Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap, adds, “We’re excited to welcome Bill to AirMap, where he will help us chart the course for the next frontier of aviation technology – drones.”


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