Flight School

The secret to Cathay Pacific's outstanding service? Embrace team-building, no matter how corny, but make it work in the real world

Gerhard Joren for TIME

Disruption management class for the ground staff at Cathay Pacific Airways at their headquarters (Cathay City) in Hong Kong, China. Employees learn how to handle crises at an airport counter.

Running a multinational airline, says Cathay Pacific CEO Tony Tyler, is a little like playing rugby. It might look like a group of "large and rather ugly men running around a muddy field," he says, but when they work together, it's a thing of beauty. "For the team to win, every player has to do their job well."

That team ethic has helped the Hong Kong-based airline please both passengers and shareholders. Cathay's profit so far this year has surged 55%, built largely on a reputation for excellent service on international long-haul flights. Cathay isn't immune, however, from high fuel costs...

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