Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 10

Q&A

ISTAT Honors Renowned
Airline Executive
Gordon Bethune, former chairman and CEO of
Continental Airlines, to receive 2013 ISTAT Award
By Julie Ahlgren, Jetrader editor

“A workforce that
wants to get the job
done is essential
in a competitive
environment like
the airline business.
It makes all the
difference in the
world.”

ISTAT has selected Gordon Bethune, former chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines, as the
recipient of the 2013 ISTAT Award. The ISTAT Award is the most distinguished honor in the
aviation industry and was created in 2001 by the society to recognize individuals who have
made lasting contributions to the industry over a significant period of time. The award is
bestowed annually at the ISTAT Americas Conference. Jetrader spoke with Bethune about
his numerous aviation achievements and how he’s seen the industry change along the way.
Jetrader: Congratulations on receiving
the prestigious ISTAT Award. Can you
tell us a little about how you got started
in aviation? Is it something you were
interested in as a child?
Gordon Bethune: My dad was a crop
duster, and I’d spend summers with him.
I grew up around airplanes. I was almost
terminally stupid at the time, but I didn’t
like the discipline of my parents and my
school, so I quit high school. On the day
I turned 17, I joined the Navy. They saw
some promise in my mechanical abilities
and put me through training as an avionics mechanic. I did well there because I
learned to get along, and I also learned a
lot about human nature. I got promoted,
went to night school and got a commission in charge of large transport airplane
maintenance operations.
JT: What happened after your time in
the Navy?
GB: When I left the Navy, I went back
to school at Texas A&M. In my senior year

10 The official publication of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading

(1979), I got a call from Braniff Airways
in Dallas. I joined them as a maintenance
manager in charge of their engine programs. That was just post-deregulation
and a lot of changes were going on in
the industry from a cost-plus approach to
management to what I’d been used to in
the Navy—a more dynamic approach where
they believed in inventory management,
production control and all the other modern tools. So I was quickly promoted and
became a vice president of the engineering
and maintenance department at Braniff
Airways. They ultimately went bankrupt
in 1982. I never lost a nickel because the
only assets were the airplanes, and the
creditors were worried about me taking
care of them.
Western Airlines offered me a job as
vice president of engineering and maintenance in Los Angeles. Soon after, I left
Western for an opportunity at Piedmont
Airlines in 1984 to become senior vice
president of operations, which included
flight operations. We were airline of the


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Jetrader - March/April 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jetrader - March/April 2013

A Message from the President
Calendar/News
ISTAT Honors Renowned Airline Executive
State of the Regions: North America
Q&A: Paul A. Jacobson
Investment Thesis: Why Airplanes are Great Assets?
Remarket or Dismantle: That is the Question
What's Going On?
Aircraft Appraisals
Letter of Intent: Crafting Road Maps for Success
ISTAT Members on the Move
Advertiser.com/Advertiser Index
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Cover1
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Cover2
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 3
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 4
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - A Message from the President
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 6
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 7
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Calendar/News
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 9
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - ISTAT Honors Renowned Airline Executive
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 11
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 12
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 13
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 14
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 15
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - State of the Regions: North America
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 17
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 18
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Q&A: Paul A. Jacobson
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 20
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 21
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 22
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 23
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Investment Thesis: Why Airplanes are Great Assets?
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 25
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 26
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 27
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 28
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Remarket or Dismantle: That is the Question
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 30
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 31
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 32
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - What's Going On?
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 34
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Aircraft Appraisals
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 36
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 37
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Letter of Intent: Crafting Road Maps for Success
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 39
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - ISTAT Members on the Move
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - 41
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Advertiser.com/Advertiser Index
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Cover3
Jetrader - March/April 2013 - Cover4
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