Walter Cho named Orient Aviation’s Person of the Year

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Walter Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air and Hanjin Group, has been named 2021 Person of the Year by Orient Aviation, a reputable aviation trade publication headquartered in Asia.

The media group, which launched in 1993 as Asia-Pacific’s first commercial aviation news magazine, selects its Person of the Year based on distinguished regional and global aviation industry leadership and performance.

“I’m honored and humbled to be chosen as Orient Aviation’s Person of the Year,” said Walter Cho. “This was made possible because of the dedicated and loyal effort of our people.” He added, “I’m grateful for our people’s commitment, and proud of the smart decisions we’ve made to transform our business to adapt to new environments.”

“Walter Cho’s nimble and market accurate strategy for Korean Air has resulted in profitable operations unrivalled by the company’s airline peers,” noted Christine McGee, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Orient Aviation.

Cho’s selection as the publication’s Person of the Year during one of the greatest crises for the global aviation industry has vouched for his outstanding leadership and business acumen.

As the pandemic forced the passenger business to virtually come to a halt, Korean Air shifted its focus on its cargo operation by maximizing the utilization of its cargo fleet, converting passenger jets to freighters and operating cargo-only passenger flights.

With its extensive knowledge and experience in handling specialized cargo, the airline has been transporting COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment and personal protection equipment as well as companies’ emergency supplies throughout the pandemic. These efforts have enabled the company to not only post a record quarterly cargo revenue, but also operating profits for six consecutive quarters.

During the COVID-19 crisis, amid many uncertainties in the aviation market, Walter Cho also made the bold decision to acquire Asiana Airlines, a leadership move highly praised as an effort to strengthen the Korean domestic aviation industry and propel the company forward in the post-pandemic global aviation industry.

Korean Air has also been working to improve passenger sales despite significant disruptions in passenger services by operating charter flights to meet overseas Koreans’ transport needs and niche commercial demands.

The airline has also committed to the industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions by partnering up with major Korean oil companies, SK Energy and Hyundai Oilbank, to adopt carbon-neutral jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel, respectively.

In June, Korean Air was selected as Air Transport World’s 2021 Airline of the Year. Under Walter Cho’s leadership, the airline seeks to grow into the world’s most loved airline.

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