Spring Airlines Founder And Chairwoman Zhang Xiuzhi Receives CAPA Legend Award
The Legend award is an occasional award given to individuals who have stood out as making a substantial long-term difference to the industry in which they work. They display rare talent and people skills, so that not only do they change the external environment, they invariably also generate substantially positive corporate improvements.
Spring Airlines VP Jonathan Hutt accepted the award on behalf of Ms Zhang.
Ms Zhang co-founded Spring and served as CEO from its establishment in 2004 until earlier this year. “Under Ms Zhang Spring expanded rapidly and profitably, culminating in a highly successful IPO in 2015”, Mr Harbison said. “Spring was able to overcome local challenges and regulatory constraints to emerge as North Asia’s largest LCC. “
CAPA noted that as China’s first LCC Spring had been a pioneer. It also became the first Chinese LCC with an overseas JV when it launched Spring Japan in 2014.
During her 12-year tenure as CEO Ms Zhang has been instrumental in helping Spring develop a strong market presence in China’s booming aviation sector, catering not only to China’s first-time flyer market but also offering a new range of travel products targeting the increasingly more sophisticated and price-conscious business segment. In 2010 Ms Zhang worked to ensure that Spring became the first private airline to be granted a licence to fly internationally by the Civil Aviation Authority of China. A staunch advocate of the low-cost aviation model, Ms. Zhang has defied the critics and illustrated that not only could the LCC model work in China – it could thrive.
“In this way, Ms Zhang has truly secured a place as a national treasure and a pioneer in the evolution of China’s increasingly important aviation industry. By creating, with Spring, a role model for others to follow, her legacy will endure”, said Mr Harbison.
CAPA does not present a Legend Award every year, and only occasionally decides an executive’s career accomplishments merit induction into the CAPA Hall of Fame. Ms Zhang becomes only the eleventh inductee into the CAPA Hall of Fame, joining Seri Bashir Ahmad, Dr Cheong Choong Kong, Sir Tim Clark, Brett Godfrey, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Sir Maurice Flanagan, Rob Fyfe, Rusdi Kirana, CW Lee and Ray Webster.