These can be troubled times for beleaguered legacy airline managements and their workforces. Inertia, always the most powerful force, is not a long-term option in an industry being turned on its head. As the competitive pressures grow, so it seems does the intransigence of employees and their unions. Strains of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests can be heard in this evolution, implying the successful airline CEO’s profile must in future be even more focused on relating to human relationships within the company. For new entrants and the high-speed growth markets of Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, innovation is more conspicuous.
A report in the latest edition of Airline Leader, the strategy journal for airline CEOs, seeks to address specifically what characteristics go into making a great airline CEO. As opinion writer Nawal Taneja notes, the quest for the secret is a well-trodden path. But there are specific features that confront an airline leader over and above the common elements of corporate leadership. This was never truer, as an entire industry experiences upheaval.
Despite the airline industry boasting many more high profile brands globally than any other area of commercial activity, very few CEOs force themselves forward as outstanding leaders. As the report states, the “ideal airline CEO is not going to be easy to find – and many features conspire to make the airline business different.”
The report, as well as the full edition, can be viewed at airlineleader.com
Other highlights in this edition:
- Separating strategy and leadership: winning airlines
- Low-cost airlines, hybridisation and the rocky path to profits
- Germany in flux as new airlines, strategies and airports come online
- Central Asia’s market leader will culminate a successful first decade with an IPO
- In conversation with Estonian Air CEO Tero Taskila