Sky Talk

Longtime American executive Will Ris to retire

American Airline’s longtime advocate to Congress, Will Ris, will retire at the end of the year.

Ris, currently American’s senior vice president of government affairs, has worked at American since 1996 as the airline’s primary lobbyist. He also represented American as an outside counsel for thirteen years prior to that.

“I am sharing this news now for two reasons. First, by doing so I'll be forced to forego having second thoughts and changing my mind. Second, I am passionately committed to facilitating as smooth and successful a transition as possible. I don't intend to slow down for a minute during the next few months, but I do hope to help my successor hit the ground running. Indeed, I have promised our leadership that I will continue to expend the same amount of energy and commitment as ever until my very last day here,” Ris wrote in a letter sent to employees on Wednesday.

Ris, 67, also served as an attorney for the United States Civil Aeronautics Board and was the principal Senate legal counsel that helped craft the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

“Will’s impact on American Airlines has been immeasurable,” American chief executive Doug Parker said in a statement. “He has represented us extraordinarily well because he understands commercial aviation and cares about the professional people who work in the business.”

Recently, Ris has been talking to the White House and Congress about the billions of dollars in government subsidies received by the Persian Gulf carriers and that the Open Skies agreements between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates should be reevaluated.