Congratulations to all our 2013 winners - please click below to see the full citations
James Hogan, President & chief executive, Etihad Airways
It has been a remarkable journey for Etihad Airways. From a standing start in 2003, the Abu Dhabi airline has grown to have a fleet of 78 aircraft carrying more than 10 million passengers to almost 100 destinations, and has been in the black for the past two years. For much of that time, renowned leader James Hogan has been at the helm.
Carolyn McCall, CEO, EasyJet
Three years after taking off on her airborne adventure with EasyJet, Carolyn McCall is piloting the carrier along a dynamic growth path on which it is evolving from its no-frills origins into a more sophisticated business model.
Central to her plan is the strategy to drive up revenue per passenger via a richer mix of business travellers, ancillary revenue and deals with global distribution systems and travel management companies. The success of this drive is reflected in the most recent set of financial results, with revenue surging 10% to $6.1 billion and net profit rising to $404 million.
Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines is the first African carrier to be recognised by the Airline Strategy Awards, and its success this year is deservedly so. The airline has delivered consistent profits while developing its fleet, network and business infrastructure and, in doing so, shown leadership to a continent.
When Tewolde GebreMariam took over as chief executive in January 2011, his predecessor Girma Wake had laid solid ground for the carrier’s development. Over the previous five years revenues and profits had tripled, and GebreMariam set about leading Ethiopian on the next phase of its expansion.
Even by its own profitable standards, budget carrier Ryanair has had a standout performance over the last year.
The pan-European carrier recorded a net profit of €569 million ($730 million) for the year ended March 2013. That not only made it the carrier’s most profitable year on record, but also marked out the Irish airline as the most profitable low-cost operator in the world.
The ambition to rapidly develop the size of an airline’s fleet, the number of frequencies, its network size or the number of destinations it serves is pointless without a brand able to support the plan, says Turkish Airlines chief executive Temel Kotil.
He admits Turkish was previously in such a predicament, and realised a boost to its status would be required in order to get passengers to buy into the brand.
Lufthansa is investing in fuelsaving technologies, not only to cut its kerosene bill but also to position the group favourably for future aircraft support business opportunities.
The German flag carrier will be the first airline to test the pilotcontrolled tow-tractor Taxibot for scheduled aircraft operations at Frankfurt this year. The semi-robotic tug, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, will be used to move the airline’s departing Boeing 737s from the ramp to the runway to avoid using the main engines for regular taxiing.
Two years ago, KLM became the first airline in the world to operate a scheduled passenger flight powered partially by biofuel. “We wanted to lead by example,” says the Dutch carrier’s director for corporate social responsibility and environmental strategy, Inka Pieter.
Sustainability is high on KLM’s agenda and the carrier’s efforts to reduce its impact on climate change did not stop after scoring this world first. “Sustainable flying is inevitable – if you want to continue flying, you have to be sustainable,” says Pieter.
Titus Naikuni, CEO, Kenya Airways
In April 2003, Titus Naikuni moved from the helm of Kenyan soda-ash producer Magadi Soda to become chief executive of Kenya Airways. In the decade since, he has brought a period of stability and profitability to the airline seldom seen in the highly fragmented African aviation market.
During the course of his tenure, revenue has more than trebled to $1.2 billion, passenger numbers have jumped to 3.6 million and the airline’s fleet has doubled to 34. It has totally revamped its fleet and become the first carrier in the region to join a global alliance, as well as a leading beacon of private enterprise in a region where state ownership remains the norm.