SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- AirMap, the world's leading provider of airspace information and services for unmanned aircraft, announced today the appointment of William S. Ayer, former chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Airlines, to AirMap's Board of Directors. Ayer has also made an investment in the company.
"Bill is a passionate aviation leader who has always embraced technology," said AirMap CEO Ben Marcus. "Under Bill's leadership, Alaska Airlines pioneered performance-based navigation (PBN), which has significantly improved safety, efficiency, and utility of air travel. Bill also chaired the FAA's NextGen Advisory Committee, where he helped refocus the agency's technology investments to create significant value. Thanks to Bill's leadership, Alaska Airlines has one of the most highly regarded cultures in the industry, with a strong dedication to safety, innovation, and customer service. We're excited to welcome Bill to AirMap, where he will help us chart the course for the next frontier of aviation technology – drones."
Ayer has been flying since age 15. He started his career an an aircraft salesman for Piper Aircraft Company in 1979. He later founded Air Olympia, a Washington state commuter airline, before joining Horizon Air in 1982. In 1995, Bill joined Alaska Air Group as vice president of marketing and planning. He was appointed chief executive officer in 2002 and became chairman in 2003. Bill retired in 2013 after more than 30 years with Alaska Air Group. He now serves on the University of Washington's Board of Regents, Honeywell Corporation'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," said Ayer. "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."
Ayer joins AirMap cofounders Ben Marcus and Greg McNeal, as well Lux Capital Partner Bilal Zuberi and General Catalyst Partners Managing Director Hemant Taneja on AirMap's Board of Directors.
Ayer graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and Human Biology and earned an MBA from the University of Washington. He is a rated airline transport pilot and flight instructor with more than 5,000 hours of flying experience.
AirMap is the world's leading provider of airspace information and services for unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones. Developed by experts in drone technology, aviation, and policy, AirMap delivers accurate, reliable, and trustworthy low-altitude navigational data and communication tools to the drone industry: inventors of drones & drone technology, drone operators, and airspace stakeholders. AirMap has a rapidly expanding global network of hundreds of partners and thousands of app users.