At the very venerable and swanky Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inns in London on Sunday evening, Etihad chief executive James Hogan was undoubtedly baring that expansive smile he's well known for. The Australia-born airline boss won the Executive Leadership Award for his "outstanding strategic thinking and leadership".
The gala dinner was attended by hundreds of senior airline executives, including representatives from Aer Lingus (of which Etihad owns nearly 3pc), Irish travel software firm Datalex, Shannon Airport, Dublin Airport Authority, and, yes, even Ryanair, which one would be forgiven for thinking wouldn't deign to attend such an establishment event. But Ryanair was up for an award - and won - the category for finance, a gong won the previous year by Etihad. Ryanair CFO Howard Millar was surely chuffed.
Carolyn McCall, CEO of Easyjet, won the low-cost leadership award. Speaking of his win, Mr Hogan said he was honoured and that it was a great accolade for Etihad. But alas for Mr Hogan, there wasn't a drop of Vegemite on toast to be had. Instead, guests had to make do with a dinner that included guinea fowl supreme on a pate croute, roast new potatoes and grain mustard with Savoy cabbage. Dessert was a white peach Bavarian creme, blackcurrant sorbet and honeycomb. And by 11.30, it was time for "carriages", as the running order put it. Huzzah.
Irish Independent, 17 July 2013