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.”