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In-depth look at the airline industry

The challenges of being a CFO of an airline.

We may not all enjoy the hustle of an airport or the turbulence of being 35,000 feet up, but aviation makes it easier for us to enjoy some much-needed holiday sun or attend an important business meeting. We take flying so much for granted that when planes are grounded it unleashes a huge level of frustration.

This was evident in December when an illegal drone flown over Gatwick Airport led to three days of flight delays and cancellations affecting 150,000 passengers.  Such events also quicken the heart rate of airline chief financial officers. Cancelled flights hit revenues, reputation and future demand. Passengers are also entitled to compensation running into the hundreds of pounds if the delay is the airline’s fault, such as late crews or technical issues.

“An airline CFO needs to be very good at risk management, governance and control,” says Robert Palmer, adviser to fast-growing regional airlines. He was previously interim CFO at CityJet and group finance director at Monarch Group. “Trying to identify all the risks and ensure you have a plan in place is important, as there is always a crisis in the airline industry.”

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 271, February 2019.

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