24= (19=) Sir Michael Bishop £200m (£200m)

Just in case he hadn’t received enough honours, the University of Leicester conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Sir Michael Bishop last July.

That comes on top of his CBE, his 1991 knighthood, his honorary Companionship of the Royal Aeronautical Society, his Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Transport, his Freemanship of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators ... I could go on.

It’s been quite a year for his airline, Bmi, too. In February a £30 million takeover of British Mediterranean by the Castle Donington-based company gave it access to valuable new routes.

Bmi is now flying to 17 new destinations from Heathrow Terminal 1, including Ankara, Beirut, Cairo, Dakar, Sierra Leone, Khartoum, Armenia and Georgia. And low cost bmibaby can now take you to Poland for less than £22.

With its new routes Bmi continues to perform extremely well. Profits in 2006 trebled. Bmi posted a pre-tax profit of £29.7 million compared with £10 million the previous year on an increased turnover of £905 million. Revenue per passenger was also up.

Sir Michael, 65, is chairman of Bmi and owns 50 per cent plus one share. The remainder is owned by Lufthansa and SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

Sir Michael has spent his working life in civil aviation. Born in Bowden, Cheshire, he joined Mercury Airlines in 1963, which was taken over by British Midland in 1964. He became MD in 1972 and led a management buyout in 1978.

He was chairman of Channel 4 between 1993 and 1997 and is chairman of the board of trustees of D’Oyly Carte Opera.

He runs the Michael Bishop Foundation, which among other charitable works, supports the expansion of the Australian Flying Doctors service.