Chinese international, air and space law expert Fang Liu became the first woman to head the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN agency announced Wednesday.
Liu, who has worked for the Montreal-based agency in various capacities since 2007, will start her three-year term as ICAO secretary general on August 1.
"She becomes the first woman ever to be appointed to the prestigious global position heading the United Nations specialized agency for civil aviation, and only the second ICAO secretary general from an Asia Pacific State," the ICAO said in a statement.
Liu previously held posts at China`s aviation agency and APEC.
She succeeds Frenchman Raymond Benjamin, who has held the position since 2009.
The 191-member organization has been focused lately on improving aircraft tracking following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The aircraft, with 239 people on board, has never been found, nearly a year on.
An international aviation summit in Montreal last month gave strong backing to plans to monitor flights in real time, making it easier to pinpoint the location of planes lost at sea.
The International Civil Aviation Organization Council is now expected to ratify the proposal in November, making it obligatory for all airlines starting in 2016.