Joyce named a Companion of the Order of Australia

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce at the airline group's 2015/16 half year results presentation. (Jordan Chong)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has been named a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civil honour, in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours list.

Joyce, Qantas CEO since 2008, was recognised for his: “eminent service to the aviation transport industry, to the development of the national and international tourism sectors, to gender equity, inclusion and diversity, and to the community, particularly as a supporter of Indigenous education.”

Born and educated in Ireland, Joyce moved to Australia in 1996 to work with Ansett Australia after starting his airline career with Aer Lingus. He joined Qantas in 2000 and was the founding chief executive of Qantas’s low-cost carrier subsidiary Jetstar in 2003.

“I’m truly honoured by this award, which also recognises the work of thousands of people who make Qantas an institution that Australians can rightly be proud of,” Joyce said in a statement.

“I’ve been lucky enough to spend all of my professional life working in aviation and the majority of that at the national carrier. It’s a privilege to promote this country to the world through transport.”

Joyce was one of 15 prominent Australians to be awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia, or AC. As well as leading a transformation of Qantas that last year saw it post record profits, he has been a champion of social issues, including marriage equality.

“Aviation can be such a force for good because it’s ultimately about connecting people, and that encourages a diversity of ideas that makes Australia the kind of place it is today,” he said.

“The notion of a ‘fair go’ has to be one of the most important Australian values, and it’s been a big driver behind my work promoting equality. We’re lucky to live in a very accepting, open society and we need to keep championing the need for everyone to share in the same opportunities.”

Alan Joyce biography
  • Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Qantas Airways Limited, since 2008;
  • Chief Executive Officer, Jetstar Airways, 2003-2008;
  • Head, Network Planning, Schedules Planning and Network Strategy, 2000-2003.
  • Head, Network Planning, Ansett Australia, 1996-2000.
  • Head, Revenue Management and Fleet Planning, Aer Lingus, 1988-1996.
  • Governor, Board of Governors, Oneworld Alliance, current.
  • Director and Member Board of Governors, International Air Transport Association, current;
  • Chairman, 2012-2013.
  • Board Member, Business Council of Australia, since 2013; Member, since 2008.
  • Fellow, Royal Aeronautical Society, current.
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, current.
Community involvement
  • Ambassador, Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, since 2012.
  • Founding Member, Male Champions of Change, since 2010.
  • Ambassador, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, current.
  • Past Presiding Officer, Board of Management, Associate Degree in Policing Practice, Charles Sturt University.
  • Past Chairman, The Australian Ireland Fund.
  • Past Director, Orangestar Investment Holdings Pte Limited.
  • Past Director, Jetstar Pacific Airlines Aviation Joint Stock Company.
Awards and recognition includes
  • Recipient, Outstanding Contribution to Global Aviation honoured by the Irish Aviation Industry, 2016.
  • Recipient, Orient Aviation Person of the Year, 2016.
  • Recipient, Airline CEO of the Year, CAPA Centre for Aviation, 2015.
  • Recipient, Low Cost Airline CEO of the Year, 2008.
  • Recipient, Low Cost Leadership Airline Business Award.


  1. Ken says

    So all you need to do to get an Order of Australia these days is trash an iconic brand and tank the share price?

  2. Nicholas says

    I know Margaret Court is at the head of a not insubstantial number of people I know, who now prefer not to fly “Air Sanctimonious”

  3. Rob says

    Another attempt to suck up to the leftist mantra….. geez, do we all have to bow down to the rainbow flag now?

    He is not a nice man, he is a typical human, with a mind for greed just like any ceo! Why do people suck up to people in power positions? Its insane!

  4. Aubrey says

    I would never want to work for him. He leeches of the employees goodwill that they have to the Qantas brand; and bullies others to get his way. For example, blackmailing the WA govt and Perth Airport Corp to contribute to converting the old Perth Qantas domestic terminal for international operations when he should have started making the move of domestic ops over to the International terminal precinct years ago when Virgin started to.

  5. Mike says

    nobody is asking you to bow down to any flag, rainbow or otherwise.
    Mr Joyce has been acknowledged in part for his positive support for marriage equality in this country.
    Assuming you are heterosexual, you have the right to marry the person you love. You may or may not have children as a result of that union. You may be well past your child bearing/raising years, yet you still have the right to marry your opposite sex partner, purely out of love for that person.
    Same sex attracted people DO NOT have that right which you enjoy; and are merely asking for fairness in being allowed the equal right in this country to marry for love.
    Marriage equality DOES NOT change or alter any rights that heterosexual couples have always enjoyed, it simply rights a wrong that current law denies to a minority of Australian citizens.
    That said, whether gay, straight, bi, black, white, Asian or whatever; we can ALL freely enjoy our love of aviation!! I’m with you there @Rob!
    Cheers, Mike

  6. Mike says

    “Marriage equality DOES NOT change or alter any rights that heterosexual couples have always enjoyed, it simply rights a wrong that current law imposes upon a minority of Australian citizens.”

  7. Alan says

    There is one reason for this award. The government want to ensure Qantas looks after them when it comes to upgrades/status etc. Since when does a CEO receive something like this? Surely Borghetti deserves one as well…? Oh wait, government only fly Qantas.

  8. Peter Clark says

    What a bunch of red necks across the Tasman. With the comments by Rob, Aubury and the attitude of Miss Court Australia needs to move ahead. Its a great country and the red necks get to much air time. I congratulate the CEO of Qantas Mr. Joyce, a great leader. He has taken the knocks and the pies and keeps on going, no one should have to go through that. Give him a break. He has seen Qantas go to the bottom and has given Australia a great airline again. All of that comes with pain and hardship for everyone. I just ask for the knockers to show respect, he is allowed his views and he has taken a stand. Nothing is perfect in New Zealand either, but at least we have some of the best social reforms in the world. Nothing changed, and we show more respect.

  9. Ben says

    I have to say that I’m not a fan of Mr Joyce. Not saying he doesn’t deserve the award and you can say that he has turned Qantas around in recent years, however he did plunge them into a record loss before that. I understand he’s a CEO and is interested in making money/the bottom line. However that is all he appears to be interested in. He doesn’t seem to have any passion for what Qantas represents, or what it could become. In fact by going with EK as a major partner, he’s turned them almost into a virtual airline. Sending a few A380s through DXB to LHR every day is hardly at the cutting edge of innovation. Instead Qantas has now just become a very junior partner and a mere cog in the wheel of EK’s world conquering strategy. The non stop flights to DFW make sense, however I would hardly say that the direct PER-LHR flights are the game changer they’re made out to be. They might be if they were additional to the services they already have. However they’re simply a re routing of the QF9/10 flights so passengers flying out of MEL now have a longer flight to LHR. Also I seriously think QF need to totally rethink their passenger experience: They call themselves a premium airline yet they’re not offering first class on their ‘game changing’ PER-LHR non stop Also on the same flight they’re offering the dreaded 9 abreast in economy on the 787. Back through the years Qantas has been at the forefront of engineering excellence and overall product innovation. Sadly no longer. I don’t doubt the passion and commitment of a lot of their staff and the high standard of training of crew. However when I look at Mr Joyce I don’t see passion, commitment or a true appreciation of what Qantas represents. All I see is $$$ signs. When he does speak about Qantas as an iconic brand etc, I get the feeling he’s just going the motions and saying what needs to be said. If he had true commitment to restoring Qantas to it’s once great position, he would be finding points of difference with the competition. Expansion of services to Europe would be a start: Go back to FRA and FCO to start with, then maybe also CDG, MAN, AMS and ATH. Make JFK and ORD a non stop flight from the East coast and really go to town on marketing engineering and customer service excellence.

  10. Tim says

    I refused to fly Qantas because of Joyce’s actions. Nothing to do with rainbow issues, which I actually support. It’s because he grounded the airline in 2011 for no good reason and I missed a wedding.

  11. Aubrey says

    Hey Peter Clark, by “Aubury” I presume that you mean me. I may be many things, but I’ve never been called a redneck before! How about actually reading my post (no mention of anything rainbow-related at all), and read Ben’s; who lays it all out.
    “the CEO of Qantas Mr. Joyce, a great leader” – nope, he may be a manager of sorts, but leader never. You are putting him in the same league as someone like Richard Branson which is preposterous.

  12. Rocket says

    The interesting thing about all these comments is that I bet very few, if any on here have ever even met the guy.
    I have had a beer with Alan Joyce some years ago. I found him to be a very intelligent and personable individual to deal with at any level.
    People were saying in Qantas in the 70s and 80s that it ‘operated on the goodwill of its staff’ and ‘management didn’t care’. Funny thing is, some years later at Ansett, in the 90s (before Air NZ got involved when Ansett were the market leader and profitable still) people there were saying that Ansett ‘operated on the goodwill of its staff’ and ‘management didn’t care’.
    It’s all hype and BS. Like him or not, the guy has achieved a number of things in his career.
    And for the person that talked about tanking the share price… you checked the VA shareprice lately… 13c is it??? I remember considering purchasing Air NZ shares after the Ansett collapse and I will I had, they were 9c each. Checked their price lately.
    With Qantas, there was a need to change and remove costs and duplication after the extremely profitable 90s and early 2000s. When companies have sustained periods of high profitability they tend to get loose with throwing cash around and it needs to be reigned in. You can’t cook an omelet without breaking eggs.
    Suggest you check out the Qantas share price this last week… over $5… in fact, higher than it’s been since the APA bid. I’d say therefore that Joyce has done a pretty good job.
    I do wonder however why his opposite number over at VA got a gong too… 7 years of losses with no end in sight.

  13. Rocket says

    @ Peter Clark

    Spot on pal. I lived in NZ for a year back in the 90s. One of the most friendly and welcoming countries I ever lived in and very progressive.

    I often look over the Tasman and think, why can’t we be more like NZ. A country smaller than ours that isn’t full of pockets of red-necks (I don’t think we are full of red necks, I think a large proportion are actually moderate and progressive) which has the guts to have an independent foreign policy and is universally respected across the globe.

  14. Rodney Marinkovic says

    Congratulations to Mr Joyce. One more aworrd. Once again have been proofed. World leading airline as QANTAS is have top awarded CEO. As many predecessor before. That fact is.
    Good luck to Qantas CEO. And include all people, whose serving with Him, great AUSTRALIAN icon QANTAS.
    Rodney Marinkovic
    Home of Qantasville I.
    Kings Park NSW

  15. Ben says

    @ Rocket – No I haven’t met Mr Joyce but I don’t think that means myself or others here aren’t qualified to have an opinion about him – He is after all, a public figure. If someone’s worth as a person is to be judged by an impression of them after you’ve met or had a beer with them, well – I could equally say that you’re critical of Mr Borghetti at VA – I would wonder if you’ve ever had a beer with John?

    I’ve had lots of beers with lots of people over the years. First impressions are mostly great, but some of these people have turned out to be complete idiots, whilst others are lifelong friends. So I question why you would base the worth of someone as a CEO on one meeting or one beer.

    As I’ve said, while I broadly disagree with some of the things that Mr Joyce is doing, I haven’t said that he doesn’t deserve the award and I do have respect for him as a CEO. Like any Australian though, I reserve the right to have an opinion on the Flag Carrier. It is after all almost a national pastime.

    You talk a lot about different airlines’ share prices. It’s interesting, if you watch the Four Corners special on the QF32 incident (should find it on You Tube) You’ll find that one of Mr Joyce’s first comments about being told of what is happening, was that he was told that the share price was tanking because they thought QF32 had actually crashed. His first comment/concern was about the share price, not about the passengers or crew. To be fair to him, I’m sure he was concerned about the passengers and crew however that doesn’t seem to be the first impression you get with him. As I’ve said – All there seems to be is $$$ signs.

    On a more positive note I do appreciate the latest initiative by Mr Joyce and QF re: researching the impact of long haul flights with frequent flyers. This seems to be more focussed on the passenger experience.

    At the end of the day the world would be a very boring place if everyone agreed with everyone. I don’t think you need the qualification of having met Mr Joyce to have an opinion about him.

  16. Ben says

    @Peter Clarke. Even though @Aubrey has already responded – I feel compelled to also respond. I don’t think it’s right or fair to label anyone who disagrees with Mr Joyce a ‘redneck’ As Aubrey has already pointed out he didn’t mention ‘rainbow issues’. Others like @Rob may have – but expressing an opinion doesn’t mean they’re rednecks and it certainly doesn’t mean there are a bunch of rednecks in Australia. I also hardly think it fair to label Margaret Court a redneck. She is a Christian pastor so it’s not surprising that she wouldn’t be agreeing with marriage equality. She has a right to an opinion and I actually think it’s very disturbing that people are shouting her and others down and threatening to re name the Margaret Court arena etc. Last time I checked we were a democracy with free speech and people are entitled to have different views on things and respectfully disagree without being shouted down.

    Margaret Court and others are as much entitled to their anti marriage equality stance as others like Alan Joyce are to a stance supporting it.

    Personally I’m actually supportive of marriage equality, I’m nowhere close to being called a redneck.

    However I’m also supportive of democracy and free speech. There is an old saying that people on both sides of this debate need to heed:

    ‘I may not believe in what you say, but I’ll fight for your right to say it.’