A decisive, analytical and goal oriented senior executive with more than twenty-five years of airline industry experience in N. America, Europe, Middle-East and Asia. Hugh is an extremely organized individual with a track record of leadership, excellence, innovation and industry success. Recognized for introducing significant and sustained improvements in profitability in airlines in N. America, Asia and the Middle East. Significant experience in evolving airline business models for hyper-competitive environments for both Full Service Carriers and Low Cost Carriers. He has a reputation in the industry for evolving airline business models and developing robust airline strategies with a proven ability to deliver results.
Hugh was appointed an honorary member of the Airline Group International Federation of Operations Research Societies (AGIFORS) in recognition of the contribution to airline revenue management. Hugh has published many papers on airline revenue management and has also been a North American editor for the Journal of Pricing & Revenue Management. Hugh has also been a guest speaker at the International Airline Management Institute (IAMTI) and a Board member of the Revenue Optimization Council. During his career, he has held senior management positions at Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, WestJet Airlines, Lufthansa Systems, Star Alliance, Air Canada and PROS Revenue Management. Hugh has also been Chairman of the Board for Abacus Malaysia and a member of the Board for Abacus International, MASWings, Firefly, MasKargo and the Seri Pacific Hotel chain in Asia.
At Qatar, Dr. Hugh Dunleavy was appointed Chief Commercial Officer in 2015 with responsibility for all of the commercial aspects of the airline business. His portfolio included Pricing & Revenue Management, Commercial Strategy, Customer Relations and Loyalty, e-Commerce, Brand, Advertising & Promotions, Sales & Distribution, Government Affairs & Airline Partnerships, Network Planning and Scheduling plus responsibility for all Ground operations at Hamad International airport and all of the outstations (150) to which Qatar Airways operated. Hugh established a Business Innovation team reporting directly to the CCO to drive new ideas quickly into the organization and improve the competitiveness of the airline.
At Malaysia Airlines, Hugh was the Chief Commercial Officer tasked with establishing an agile and competitive Commercial Organization able to compete and succeed against ultra-aggressive and fast growing LCC airlines (Air Asia and Lion Air). Hugh recruited new staff and created a high performing team that was able to recapture market share against the LCC competition and establish appropriate KPI’s for both Commercial, Flight Operations and Technical services to improve the performance of the fleet in terms of reliability and utilization. During his time at Malaysia Airlines, the airline moved into a profitable operation.
The two tragedies in 2013 (the loss of MH370 between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing and the shooting down of flight MH17 over the Ukraine) severely impacted the willingness of consumers to purchase tickets on Malaysia Airlines, the end result being the airline filing for bankruptcy in 2015. Hugh was assigned by the Board to be the Executive tasked with working with the various Government and Emergency Agencies in China and the Netherlands to take care of the needs of the relatives of the passengers on board these two flights and represent the airline to the international media.
At WestJet Hugh’s commercial responsibility was to dramatically expand the network footprint and schedule with the delivery of approximately 100 Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft while continuing to grow the profitability of the airline. During his time at WestJet this required close attention to the network, the schedule, Sales, Pricing and Revenue Management to ensure that the airline was sufficiently agile and able to respond rapidly to all competitor actions. The marketing, brand and advertising campaigns plus the introduction of the WestJet Loyalty Program were an integral part of Hugh’s role. Hugh was the architect of the expansion of WestJet from a purely domestic operation to a major international airline operating trans-border to multiple destinations in the USA, Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii. During his time at WestJet the airline market share increased dramatically while maintaining a focus on profitability. The airline was profitable every quarter during Hugh’s time at WestJet.
Hugh has a PhD in Theoretical Physics with an undergraduate degree in Physics from Sheffield University in the UK. Hugh has also held the position of Adjunct Professor of Operations Management at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. He has also been a guest lecturer at MIT and Columbia Universities in the United States.