William Shaw Flying through Life


William Shaw giving his presentation in the theater on May 3rd.

Alejandro McEwen

Working in the early hours of the day at an Airport directing traffic, William Shaw was just in another day in his life. This is when he wondered what was he doing in his life. Was he making a difference in the world? This completely changes his life and made him the founder of Viva Air and current CEO of interjet.

His goal of making a real difference in the world. He created the team he needed and work every day until he could finally realize his dream. He came to TCS on May 3rd to give a talk in the theater about entrepreneurship to 12-grade students. Shaw was born to an English family in Mexico.

Shaw was always an astute academic. “William Shaw, a Mexican who has spent most of his career in Colombia, while pursuing an MBA at Stanford University,” from Gerente.com. He went to Oxford business school and got an MBA at Stanford University. This made him a renowned academic. Although, he fell into troubled times and he had to work at airports directing airplane traffic and loading planes. He says that this was some of the most valuable experience he got because when he became CEO he knew what everybody had to do and could do it himself.  

“Obviously, he passed many faces, faces because he was doing something that isn’t regarded as successful, but he was able to stand up and change the world for the better,” Kevin Valentine, in attendance during William Shaw conference, said. While working at the airport he had a question. What was he doing with his life? This led him to quit his job search for a business to have an impact. For months he went day in and day out searching the web for opportunities, while people told him he was crazy. He finally found out that Colombia was a prime market for a low-cost airline. So he sent a market report to scout out what was the state of the market. He found out that for most customers the most important aspect was safety and cost. So he built Viva Colombia on those ideas.

Viva Colombia or Viva air as its known now was founded on September 16, 2009, with a great team of Gabriel Migowski, Fred Jacobsen, and Juan Posada. Between them, they had a vision and the expertise to make the vision happen. “Viva Colombia, I founded the first low-cost airline in Colombia, before a ticket to Cartagena cost a million pesos, Now a ticket cost 120,000 pesos,” Shaw said. It was a revolutionary airline which lower prices all over the country. This is in line with William’s character.

He has worked minimum wage jobs and knows how it is at the bottom. “The most important skill is compassion; in today’s social media environment we can the people that are suffering and we need to help them,” Shaw said. This lead to him creating a low-cost airline in Colombia to allow anybody who wanted to travel by air the opportunity to fly. So he co-founded three major low-cost airlines in Africa, Dominican Republic, and Ireland to make air travel accessible to the whole world.

Now Shaw is the CEO of Interjet, a low-cost Mexican airline, which investors have high hopes he will bring a new era to the airline. “Interjet founder and president Miguel Aleman Magnani says Shaw’s arrival will usher in a “new era” in Interjet’s history,” from Flightglobal. His experience with low-cost airlines should help redirect Interjet from the questionable place the last CEO Jose Luis Garza left them.

He keeps to his values and says that the greatest problem in the world is climate change. “Air transportation does a major impact on the environment and we’ve got to be conscious and change that,” Shaw said. He is leading Interjet to a more sustainable future by changing their fleet to neon airplanes. This planes conserve fuel and reduce carbon emission helping the environment.

Although, he is very busy and has tons of accomplishments he keeps his family first. This proves he’s a man of character to respect and admire.

“My daughter, I know it sounds cliche but she is my greatest accomplishment,” Shaw said