Jim French CBE

Honorary graduates 2011-12

Jim French CBE (LLD)

Friday 22 July 2011 11:30am

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Flybe Jim French began his 36-year aviation career in 1970 with Caledonian Airways, joining Air UK in 1980 where he held various Board roles. Jim first joined Flybe in 1990 being appointed Commercial Director shortly after and subsequently becoming Deputy Chief Executive.

In June 2001 Jim was appointed Managing Director and formulated the plan which transformed the airline from a loss-making traditional carrier into one of Europe’s largest, fastest growing and dynamic aviation businesses. Jim was appointed to the combined role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in March 2005. He is regularly acknowledged by his peers, being voted Airline Executive of the Year twice in both 2002 and 2004 by Regional Airline World. Also in 2004, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society for his contribution to aviation. In 2007, Jim and his team were named the Best Management Team in the Air Transport category at the annual global Flight Awards, organised by Flight Magazine. In 2009 Jim accepted Air Transport World’s 2009 Regional Airline of the Year award in Washington in recognition of Flybe’s ‘strong commitment to safety and operational integrity’.

In 2010 Flybe was successful in its initial public offering on the London Stock Market. This great achievement was closely followed by Jim being inducted into the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame in February 2011.

Caring passionately about the region, Jim is active in the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and is currently the Chairman of the CBI’s South West region. Jim was honoured to have been recognised in the Queen’s 2009 Birthday Honours List with a CBE for his services to the UK airline industry.