Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan won the top prize at last night's Airline Strategy Awards, in recognition of his successes in developing the Abu Dhabi carrier's partnerships and shareholdings.
There was also recognition for Kenya Airways chief executive Titus Naikuni at the event - which is now in its 12th year, and organised by Airline Business magazine in partnership with executive search firm Spencer Stuart.
In picking Hogan for the Executive Leadership Award, the judges noted that he had helped steer the airline to profitability, and that his strategy was potentially reshaping relations between the airline alliances.
Naikuni scooped the Airline Business Award for having brought stability and profitability to Kenya Airways during his 10-year tenure.
An African carrier had never previously won an Airline Strategy Award, but last night two were successful. Ethiopian Airlines' Tewolde Gebremariam collected the Regional Leadership Award.
EasyJet's Carolyn McCall landed the Low-Cost Leadership Award, in acknowledgment of the increasing sophistication of the UK carrier's business model.
The 2013 winners in full were:
Executive Leadership: James Hogan, president and chief executive, Etihad Airways
Low Cost Leadership: Carolyn McCall, chief executive, EasyJet
Regional Leadership: Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive, Ethiopian Airlines
Marketing: Turkish Airlines
The Airline Business Award: Titus Naikuni, group managing director and chief executive, Kenya Airways