The aviation industry has lost an iconic figure in the death of James Strong, who firstly oversaw the transformation of TAA into Australian Airlines, and then was head of Qantas for its merger with Australian, and subsequent privatisation.
“James Strong passed away peacefully in Sydney on the 3rd March 2013 from lung complications following surgery,” a statement from his family reads. “A beautiful man and a great loss. He will be profoundly missed by many. The family appreciates your thoughts at this difficult time and would like to thank the staff at the Mater Hospital for their care.”
Said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: “James made a huge contribution across many areas of Australian life, but he will be remembered by us as a giant of Australian aviation and Qantas history.
“He led the merging of Australian Airlines and Qantas. He managed the privatisation process of 1995, ensuring that Qantas emerged structurally sound, with a secure financial base and strong domestic and international segments.”
James Strong was CEO of TAA/Australian Airlines between 1986 and 1989, and CEO of Qantas from 1993 until 2001. Since 2006 he had been a Qantas boardmember.
“I was sad to hear the news of James Strong passing away, without doubt the best part of my career was working at Australian Airlines when James was CEO,” one former Australian Airlines/Qantas staffer told Australian Aviation. “He was indeed legendary amongst the TN staff, in that whenever he travelled around the network, he would always be keen to chat with the frontline staff. A far cry from the attitude and indifference shown by CEOs before and after him!”
Australian Aviation extends its condolences to James Strong’s family, friends and colleagues.