A fond farewell to Rod

It was a testament to the genuine popularity and indeed affection that Rod Eddington has won among the British air transport industry that his final public engagement – an address to the UK’s Aviation Club on 22 September – had a waiting list.

The club even squeezed an extra seat onto each table to enable over 200 members and guests from around the UK and Europe conduct the usual networking and listen to the outgoing chief executive of British Airways. He offered his views on five years at the helm of the carrier, airline consolidation and survival, US protectionism and the opportunities driven by growth in China and India.

The top table at the lunch was surely one of the most impressive ever assembled at the club. Apart from Rod himself, and AvClub president Mike Skinner, the chief executive of Focus Aviation, the list ran as follows:

Sir Michael Bishop, chairman, bmi

Sir Ralph Robins, former chairman, Rolls-Royce

Martin Broughton, chairman, BA

Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, secretary general, Association of European Airlines

Jim French, chief executive, flybe

Keith Mans, chief executive, Royal Aeronautical Society

Sir Michael Jenkins, former president, Boeing UK

Lord Hesketh, chairman, bmed

Lord Marshall, former chairman, BA

At the end of the speech Rod won a standing ovation, a rare feat indeed at a business event. And Rod is certainly not taking a break. Just days after handing over to Willie Walsh, after a several-month transition period when the two worked in tandem, he moves straight into advisory role for the UK government as it looks at its future transport policy.


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