2017 Australia Day Honours Credits Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti

27th Jan 2017

For his contributions to the Australian aviation industry in the past four decades, the 2017 Australia Day Honours has decided to recognize Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti.

According to the official announcement, the Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Australia has been recognized for:

"Distinguished service to the Australian aviation industry, to the development of national and international tourism opportunities, and as a supporter of the arts and sport."

Mr. Borghetti took over the helm at Virgin Australia back in 2010, when the carrier was flying under the "Virgin Blue" brand and was a budget airline. Already next year, Borghetti rebranded Virgin Blue into Virgin Australia and turned it into the full-service operator we know today.

In 2013, Borghetti-lead Virgin Australia acquired another Australian airline, Skywest to expand its domestic and regional foothold. However, VA was already looking beyond that and was looking for a way to expand its international network as well. It accomplished that the same year by forging strategic alliances with several airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines.

Although Air New Zealand has sold its shares in Virgin Australia last year, the partnership with the other carriers is still going strong and has allowed Virgin to grow its international network without overspending on new planes.

According to Mr. Borghetti, his goal as Virgin Australia CEO is not only to transform the company, but the Australian aviation industry as a whole. At one annual meeting of Virgin shareholders, he said:

Over the past six years, we have been working tirelessly to transform the company and frankly the Australian aviation industry. In doing so we have delivered an innovative customer experience to Australian travellers and ensured there is strong competition in every part of the Australian aviation industry, including corporate travel, leisure, low cost, regional, charter, cargo and loyalty programs.

Since 2012, Borghetti is also a director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and is also a non-executive director at Australian Securities Exchange. Before joining his current company, Borghetti actually worked for Qantas for 36 years, where he was the general manager from 2003 until leaving the airline in 2009.