Travelport appoint BA’s Heywood to run global relations

Former British Airways head of sales Ian Heywood has joined global distribution system (GDS) owner Travelport as global head of supplier relations.

Heywood joins as Travelport prepares to confront BA transatlantic partner American Airlines in court in Texas after the pair filed competing lawsuits alleging anti-competitive behaviour.

The dispute first went to court in the US, in Illinois, last December over American’s termination of an agreement with online travel agent Orbitz – which is part-owned by Travelport. The Illinois court overturned that ruling on June 1.

Heywood was head of consumer and agency sales at BA when the airline axed commission payments in 2005. BA announced a move to 1% commission in late 2003, when Heywood told agents: “Why do you expect me to pay you?”

He joined Qatar Airways as vice-president of global sales and distribution after leaving BA in 2006, and in 2008 was due to join BMI as commercial director when he was detained in Qatar for several months following allegations of industrial espionage.

Heywood has since worked as an independent consultant.

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