FREDERICK, MD — The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) welcomed a new member to its Board of Trustees, William “Bill” Ayer. No stranger to AOPA and general aviation, Ayer was the previous Chairman of the AOPA Foundation Board of Advisors since 2014 and has been a member of AOPA since 1980.
Ayer, who has been a pilot for more the four decades, officially joined the Board of Trustees in December 2017 and will be a member of the Audit Committee and the Compensation, Organization, and HR Committee.
With an impressive background in aviation, Ayer began his career with Piper Aircraft Company and was the founder of Air Olympia, a small commuter airline in Washington State. He joined Horizon Air in 1982 where he held a variety of marketing and operations positions. He joined Alaska Airlines in 1995 as vice president of marketing and planning, and went on to become chief executive officer and chairman. He retired from Alaska Airlines as CEO in 2012 and as chairman in 2013.
Well-known as a leader throughout the aviation industry, Ayer dedicates his time to several companies, academia, and associations, including the Board of Directors for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and Honeywell, an NBAA member company. He is also a Board of Trustees member at the Museum of Flight, and on the Board of the National Air and Space Museum. Ayer also serves on the Board of Regents at his alma mater, the University of Washington, and sits on the Boards of two early stage companies, AirMap and VICIS. Ayer previously served as a member of the FAA’s Management Advisory Council and is past chairman of the FAA’s NextGen Advisory Committee.
Ayer has always been supportive of AOPA initiatives that work to grow the pilot population, and recently attended AOPA’s High School Aviation STEM Symposium in Dallas, TX.
Having learned to fly at the age of 15, Ayer has more than 5,000 flight hours, holds ATP and flight instructor certificates, and owns a Piper Malibu. Ayer graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics, and holds an MBA from the University of Washington.