I know it's only July (although the weather in London makes it feel more like October), but I think I might have just enjoyed the best moment of my first year as Airline Business editor.
For on Sunday night, I hosted my first Airline Strategy Awards (that's me mid-flow, below) - in the magnificent Great Hall at Lincoln's Inn - in front of an audience of over 200 distinguished guests that included a raft of current and former airline CEOs.
To be honest, it was a relief when the big night finally arrived as it had been six months in planning by the Airline Business editorial and events teams, along with partners Spencer Stuart who did a great job facilitating the whole judging process. And the last few weeks have been particularly challenging, as we juggled completing the final arrangements along with our IATA AGM and Paris air show responsibilities, and the production of this month's huge Airline Business issue which contains the our annual airline financial rankings survey.
On the night (17 July), Emirates boss Tim Clark (pictured below) was our most prominent A-lister, receiving the Airline Business award from myself and former editors Kevin O'Toole and Mark Pilling. This was a special 10-year award recongising the leader of the airline that has made the biggest impact over the decade that our awards have run.
Few would disagree that Tim and Emirates have achieved that. I think Tim's influence on the industry is best summed up by paraphrasing what another airline boss told me recently: "Emirates is the airline that other CEOs lie awake at night worrying about."
So congratulations to Tim for that well-deserved award, and to all the other 2011 winners.
And now I've got that monkey off my back, I can't wait for the 2012 event!
More details about all the winners here: The Airline Strategy Awards 2011