This study examines the possible connection between the leadership style (traits) of airline CEOs and the overall performance (financial and operational) of the airline they lead based on data collected via semi--structured interviews. Expert aviation business faculty was interviewed, and additional data were gathered from each airline's annual reports and a scholarly study that operationally evaluates airlines: the Airline Quality Rating (AQR). The five most recent AQR reports, along with financial reports over the same period were used. While supportive/servant leadership emerged as a preferred leadership style for the successful airline CEO, surprisingly none of the current CEOs were deemed to be supportive/servant leaders. The ranking of the airlines remained fairly consistent over the five-year period studied, showing the same five airlines occupying the top spots, and the same five airlines occupying the bottom spots.
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