Alan Joyce, the man who forged new relationships for Australia’s national carrier, turned its profits around and pushed for world-first services, has received one of the highest honours an English monarch can bestow upon non-royals.

The Flying Kangaroo’s boss, along with actress Cate Blanchett, was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Only 15 people in total received the award this year, which recognises citizens for their achievement and/or service.

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Qantas’ boss was named a Companion for his contribution to the country’s aviation industry as well as his work in enforcing gender equality, inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

In an official statement, Joyce said he’s “honoured” by the award, which he also attributed to the “work of thousands of people who make Qantas an institution that Australians can rightly be proud of”.

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“I’ve been lucky enough to spend all of my professional life working in aviation and the majority of that at the national carrier.”

Alan Joyce, Qantas Chief Executive

“It’s a privilege to promote this country to the world through transport.

“Aviation can be such a force for good because it’s ultimately about connecting people, and that encourages a diversity of ideas that makes Australia the kind of place it is today.

“The notion of a ‘fair go’ has to be one of the most important Australian values, and it’s been a big driver behind my work promoting equality. We’re lucky to live in a very accepting, open society and we need to keep championing the need for everyone to share in the same opportunities.”

Join us in congratulating Alan Joyce on his royal appointment.