Published on : Tuesday, November 21, 2017
ALTA (the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association) this week presented its “Alas de América” Award during its Airline Leaders Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Rafael Alonso, President Latin America, and the Caribbean for Airbus.
Over the years, Latin America and Caribbean aviation has grown substantially to become a significant catalyst for communities of the region and beyond, creating and contributing greatly to economic growth and connectivity, transforming and reinventing the industry every day. “Alas de América” was born as an initiative by ALTA to recognize a person, or private or governmental institution that has made or is making a significant contribution to the growth and continuous improvement of the airline industry in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
ALTA’s Executive Committee presented the 2017 inaugural “Alas de América” Award to Rafael Alonso, Airbus’ President Latin America and the Caribbean, in recognition of his almost 35 years of service in which he has truly embodied the significance of this recognition for his dependability, personal touch, and cooperation and collaboration. He has, consistent with the theme of the award, given the region “wings.
Dependability – Alonso has worked through highly challenging circumstances in the region – including volatile economies, currency devaluations, and bankruptcies – ensuring that his company was there for the region’s airlines. This included helping larger carriers modernize their operations and, in other cases, taking some risks to support the creation of new airlines, including several low-fare carriers, by providing them with the equipment they needed to get off the ground. For his constant and dependable focus on the region and its needs, he has been rewarded through orders in the region alone for more than 1,200 of his company’s high-value products, a monetary value of approximately US $132 billion.
Personal Touch – He has been there, personally, for the airlines when they have needed products and services to launch, grow, or evolve their fleets. Importantly, whereas he leads a substantial team in the region, this great leader has been there himself, sitting across from the airline CEOs and their teams, providing them with the assurances of his company’s support for their businesses. Perhaps more important, he has built the strong, trust-based relationships, one-on-one, with the airlines’ leaders, on which the broader company-to-company relationships are anchored.
In many ways, he is his company to the ALTA membership and the region overall
Collaboration and Cooperation – He has worked collaboratively across several airlines in the region to orchestrate and negotiate a landmark deal that provided them with the benefits of scale that they would otherwise not have enjoyed and, in so doing, securing a major and lasting foothold for his company in the region. Notably, he made this deal happen well before the creation of airline alliances or joint ventures, thereby demonstrating a great deal of vision, creativity, and innovation.
Rafael Alonso, President of Airbus, Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “It is truly an honor to be awarded this distinguished industry accolade. ALTA and Airbus have always shared a similar vision for the furthering of Latin America and the Caribbean as a dynamic aviation market, and receiving the Alas de América award, for me, is not only symbolic of how far we’ve come as an industry, but also a nod to the exciting things our region’s aviation future holds.”
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