Slosar steps up at Cathay

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Cathay Pacific are one of the world’s best run airlines. Their recovery from the financial crisis and measured approach to growth has allowed them to post record full year net profits, and it is amid this scenario that John Slosar takes over as CEO this week.

He replaces Tony Tyler, who joked at the airline’s results press conference in Hong Kong two weeks ago that he leaves with three records in his four years at the helm of the Oneworld carrier – two full-year record profits with one record loss in between. It is not a bad way to bid adieu.

Slosar will be a different CEO to Tyler – he has a more measured approach, insiders say that he is a “hands-on details-oriented guy”, and he has a disarming charm about him that makes people very comfortable. They add that it does not mean he would shirk from making quick hard decisions when necessary – something that will stand him in good stead amid the challenges that will inevitably come his way.

In a detailed interview with Airline Business a few weeks ago, Slosar spelt out the various issues facing Cathay in the coming years. Chief among these are retaining the importance of the Hong Kong hub and tapping on the growth of the China market together with Air China and Dragonair.

The cargo market is also of paramount importance for the airline – Cathay is investing in a dedicated cargo terminal in Hong Kong, inducting a new fleet of freighters from later this year, and starting up a Shanghai-based joint-venture with Air China.

The relationship between Air China and Cathay – the two airlines have a stake in each other – will also be closely scrutinised in the coming years. Will the Beijing-based carrier want to increase its stake in Cathay? That will be the question on everyone’s mind.

It will be interesting to keep tabs on both Cathay and Slosar in the coming years.


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