Lufthansa's Crisis Manager of the Year

Spohr imago
Keeping his head when all around him are losing theirs.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Europe’s biggest airline emerged stronger after the March crash, says the author, who lauds Lufthansa’s chief executive Carsten Spohr as crisis manager of the year.

  • Facts


    • Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed March 24, 2015, in southern France. It was later determined that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally flew the plane into a mountain.
    • The parent company’s chief executive moved quickly to cancel big celebrations planned for Lufthansa’s 60th anniversary in the month after the tragedy.
    • Lauda Air Flight 004 crashed in Thailand May 26, 1991, killing 223. Niki Lauda, the former Formula One racing champion, was owner and chief executive of the airline.
  • Audio


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When Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed March 24 in the French Alps, Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr proved himself a capable crisis manager. I know exactly the kind of challenges a chief executive faces in such extraordinary situations.

In 1991 I was owner and head of Lauda Air when one of our planes, a Boeing 767-300ER, crashed after takeoff from Bangkok to Vienna.

The worst disaster in Austrian aviation history killed 223 people after the thrust reverser activated in flight due to an error in building the plane.

The most important in such a catastrophe is not to react, but to act. When news media speculate and spread rumors, the human and business catastrophe grows even bigger.

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