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Standout From The Crowds
Professional Skills For Airline CEO
Mohammed Salem Awadh
Date of Issue :
11 Nov. 2020
Standout From The Crowds
Professional Skills For Airline CEO
Most of recent studies support the hypothesis that airline
CEOs with a financial background are more common than
CEOs with other job backgrounds. Really the CEO position
is very sensitive. It is the pre-eminent role in any business,
and it has the power and the influence to create or fail an
airline. So for most airlines, choosing a new CEO is risky
issue. For airlines Industry, there is less margin for error, as
they are uniquely vulnerable to a range of uncontrollable
external influences, from the threat of terrorism and
hijacking to the spread of Coronavirus. Airlines are also
operating with slim profit margins. In the years 2000-2016,
the average profit margin for airlines worldwide was only
0.34%, with seven years of losses and ten years of profits.
The average profit per passenger between 2004-2016 was $ 2.33, when it was first measured by
While the airline's board of directors are responsible for protecting and enhancing shareholder
funds. They are also responsible for selecting the CEO, which many believes it is the most
important job. The Board of Directors are also looking for a CEO who will act in a way that
increases the performance of the company, as they seek to understand the personality,
professionality and skills of the CEO's candidate and to match them with the responsibility and
duties required. However, a knowledge gap exists because the board of directors cannot be
confident of how the new CEO will perform in this role.
The airline’s board of directors are also aware of the unwritten rule in aviation which states
"safety first". Which usually applies to operational safety, but given airlines' meager profit
margins, it also applies to financial security. Since business uncertainty is most evident at the
highest levels of management, one way to reduce risk and enhance safety is to choose someone
who is knowledgeable and able Aviation Sciences. In this article, we look at the world of
aviation and the most prominent players in the field as this study examines the hypothesis that
airline chief executives are those with a financial background more common than CEOs from
other career backgrounds due to the financial complexity and scant profit margins typical of
airlines. And no empirical study was found on preferences or trends in executive backgrounds in
the airline industry. The 40 profiles of current CEOs of airlines around the world were analyzed,
as measured by the skills acquired by subscribers to the professional site LinkedIn. On this site,
the visitor can vote for you with a certain skill, according to certain criteria, or publish a special
study or a special professional comment they like, or request a specific recommendation. And
across your career and years of experience, these notes accumulate and create your professional
and educational background across your path carrier.
Mohammed Salem Awadh
LinkedIn Professional Website:
LinkedIn professional website, it is a reflection
mirror of your path career sequence. At some
international institutions or companies, we ask to
submit our LinkedIn profile instead of our
resume (CV) and the difference between them –
at LinkedIn - professional individuals evaluate us
while in our resume - we are telling the employer about our qualifications - here the credibility is
for LinkedIn. While most of the times a job is advertised on LinkedIn, and when we are applying
for it through LinkedIn, the site offers a comparison of our acquired skills on the job with the
skills required for the advertised position and determines our levels with the other applicants for
the ten (10) highest skills required for the job advertised. And here, if we are with the first 10
top applicants, then the chance to get the job is high by obtaining a recommendation and support
from a professional or employee who works in the company.
Analysis of the Main Characteristics of airlines CEO:
By studying forty (40) Airline CEOs carrier profiles at LinkedIn, which reflecting their skills that
possessed, and gained along their professional path carriers. We define these skills by two
1- Industry Skills (the skill of belonging to the community)
2- Functional skills (the skill of finishing the tasks)
Approach (Method of Analysis):
The skills of forty leading personalities/professionals with the position of Chairman of the Board
of Directors were studied and the skills were varied, then a ranking arrangement was made from
largest to smallest for each skill, then the first ten values were taken from each skill, including
the average work for each skill. Then these skills were classified in two categories:
the first: Industry skills, and the second, Functional skills. As shown in the diagram.
1- Industry Skills (These skills belong to the community):
These skills belong to the knowledge of a specific field in general (air transport, medicine,
military, aviation, IATA, ICAO) and reflect the general experience of the person in relate field.
2- Functional skills:
These skills are to implement the basic tasks assigned of the job such as strategy, accounting,
marketing, negotiation, management, planning, leadership and operation.
The leadership matrix is based on two
components - the skills of belong to the
community (Industry Skills) and the skills to
implement the tasks assigned to the job
(Functional Skills) - as it reflects the outcomes
of the matrix - in four directions - Leader -
Challenger - Niche -Follower.
(I. Skills + ve & F. Skills + ve)
Both are above average.
(I. Skills -ve & F. Skills + ve)
Here the professional performance is
represented by a positive trend and above the
average, while Skills belong to the industry is
below the average.
(I. Skills + ve & F. Skills –ve)
Here Industry Skills is higher than the average, but professional performance is less than the
(I. Skills -ve & F. Skills –ve)
Both are below average.
The descending classification/ranking of
Functional Skills shows the strategy,
operation and management skills are over the
financial skills. Where the first eight skills
constitute more than 65% of the total skills
counted in the study. Most of the readings
outcome in the (Follower) affiliate area,
while one reading came in the Challenger
area - Royal Jordanian, while Kuwait
Airways ranked the highest one (Leader) in
the analysis with a large gap of skills.
followed by Fiji Airways and Westjet.
The study is based on 40 available personalities/professional CEO LinkedIn profile. All of them
are Airline CEOs. Some of them are highly professional and skills, and the others are average
due to their recent enrollment on LinkedIn, as their pages do not reflect their real acquired skills.
However, this did not prevent us from analyzing all skills, to clarify the full picture of the
practical skills of the CEO of an Airline. Where the results are completely different from what is
known and practice.
So the highest practical skills that reflects the Airline CEO characters are listed:
Business Strategy, Management, Commercial Aviation, Strategy, Business Plan, Leadership,
Operation Management, and Change Management As these skills represented 66% of the total
skills. Financial skills are also reflected by 5% in the analysis and came in two indicators,
namely Revenue Analysis, and the second, Pricing Strategy. The study is clearly demonstrated
the importance of strategic, managerial and operational skills in the aviation industry. ■