Will Ris, senior vice president – Government Affairs for American Airlines, has announced he intends to retire at the end of this year after nearly 20 years with the airline.
An attorney with broad experience in government and transportation, Ris has been American's principal Government Affairs executive since July 1996. He is responsible for directing all activities on behalf of American with Congress, the administration and a broad range of federal agencies.
In 2001, he led the effort to protect the domestic aviation industry, assure the continued viability of passenger service and establish new security measures.
More recently, he helped lead the effort to gain public and political support for the merger between American and US Airways, which created a strong, competitive airline with more than 100,000 employees worldwide.
Prior to joining American in 1996, Ris was executive vice president for the Wexler Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm, where he represented American as outside counsel for 13 years.
He also served as a trial attorney for the United States Civil Aeronautics Board and was appointed counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and its Aviation Subcommittee. In 1978, he was the principal Senate legal counsel for the drafting of the airline deregulation legislation.