Congratulations to all our 2012 winners - please click below to see the full citations
Shinichiro Ito, CEO, All Nippon Airways
Like a boxer punching above his weight, All Nippon Airways was constantly trying to outdo its bigger rival Japan Airlines. In the past few years, through various circumstances, but largely through Shinichiro Ito’s inspired leadership, it may have finally succeeded.
Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive, COPA Airlines
With consolidation and acquisitions dominating the Latin American airline industry in recent years, it is natural to ask standalone player Copa Airlines whether it sees itself merging with another carrier. But if chief executive and president Pedro Heilbron has it his way, the Panama-based airline will continue standing on its own two feet.
Lance Gokongwei, Chief Executive, Cebu Pacific
Cebu Pacific’s chief executive Lance Gokongwei told Airline Business last year that he does not play golf or read to take a break from his hectic schedule. Instead, if anything drives him, it is work. As he put it: “Making money is the best way to relax.” If the Philippine low-cost carrier’s success is anything to go by, Gokongwei must be extremely relaxed.
It would not be unreasonable to say that surprise and puzzlement surrounded the revelation by Etihad Airways that it had bought almost one-third of Air Berlin on the eve of the festive season last December. What was the motivation behind the fastgrowing – but at that time unprofitable – Gulf network carrier acquiring 29% of Germany’s struggling, loss-making “hybrid” airline?
Transforming a hybrid low-cost carrier into a full-service airline requires a clear vision and plan, especially when it is done in only 12 months. When the process started for Virgin Blue, as it was then called, the airline’s business model placed it “in the middle of nowhere”, according to some, between full-service Qantas and low-cost Jetstar and Tiger Australia Airlines.
Lufthansa was not among the first airlines to conduct a biofuel test flight, but being in the front row was not important, says Joachim Buse, vice president of aviation biofuel. “We’d rather stay a bit more in the background... but have everything all worked out carefully, with scientific support and, in the end, economically sensible results.”
Airlines can be extremely cautious about implementing new technology because of the potential financial consequences if it fails to take hold. The uncertain global economic outlook, not to mention volatile fuel environment, means airlines often prefer to install a technology after it has been proven successful.
Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive, Qatar Airways
In his 15 years at the helm of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker has transformed the airline from a small regional player into a global network carrier to rival the best in the world. On his journey to this success, he has been no stranger to controversy − whether it be from chastising one manufacturer for failing to act upon his demands or another for its inability to keep its promises. But one thing is for sure, he commands huge respect from anyone involved in business dealings with him.