Six key individuals heading up major airport operations in the GCC: Gordon Dewar, James Bennett, Paul Griffiths, Mahdy Aldakheel, Abdullah Rehaimi and George Bellew
Position Chief executive officer (CEO), Bahrain Airport Company
Biography Gordon Dewar took up his role as CEO of Bahrain Airport Company in August 2010. The firm is responsible for managing and operating Bahrain International airport. Dewar has extensive experience working in the UK’s transport sector. Between 2007 and 2010, Dewar worked with the UK airports operator BAA, first as managing director of Glasgow airport and then Edinburgh airport. Prior to joining BAA, Dewar worked for eight years with bus and train operators FirstGroup and Arriva. He served as commercial director for First ScotRail and commercial director for Arriva. From 1989-99, Dewar worked as transport consultant focusing on public transport. He graduated from the London School of Economics in 1989 and has a master’s of business administration from the UK’s Strathclyde University, which he obtained in 2001.
Contact Tel: (+973) 1 735 3319
Position CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac)
Biography James Bennett became CEO of Adac in June 2010. State-owned Adac is responsible for the operation and management of five airports in Abu Dhabi. Bennett joined Adac after 14 years with the US’ Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Mwaa). Bennett joined Mwaa in 1996 as executive vice-president and chief operating officer and was appointed president and CEO in May 2003. Prior to joining Mwaa, Bennett was assistant aviation director at Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix, Arizona. Other previous roles include director of the Shreveport Airport Authority in Louisiana and director of aeronautics for the City of Flint, Michigan. Bennett was also manager of technical services for industry body Airport Operators Council International. Bennett graduated from Auburn University in the US in 1978 with a degree in aviation management.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 505 5555
Position CEO, Dubai Airports
Biography As CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths is responsible for the operation and development of Dubai International airport, as well as the recently opened Al-Maktoum International at Jebel Ali. Griffiths joined Dubai Airports as its first CEO in October 2007. During his tenure, he has overseen the launch of Terminal 3 at Dubai International. Prior to moving to Dubai, Griffiths worked for UK airports operator BAA as managing director of London’s Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the UK. Before joining BAA in 2004, he spent 14 years with the Virgin Group, working closely with Richard Branson as a board director of Virgin Travel Group, which oversees the commercial activities of both Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Trains. Prior to this, Griffiths spent five years in Hong Kong developing the marketing, commercial planning and technology for start-up airline Dragonair.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 216 6916
Position Director of projects department, Kuwait International airport, Directorate General of Civil Aviation
Biography Mahdy Aldakheel has been involved in the planning and development of Kuwait International airport for 19 years. He was appointed as director of the projects department in May 2007. After graduating from Wentworth Institute of Technology in the US, Aldakheel began his career as a site engineer. He was later promoted to project manager, leading a team of engineers to deliver airfield maintenance and development projects. Following this, he was named head of the pavement section, managing multiple airfield pavement and maintenance schemes through a team of project managers. He then became head of the investment projects section and was responsible for evaluating investment opportunities for the private sector at Kuwait International. Later, he became the chief engineer of the projects and development division.
Contact Tel: (+965) 2 433 6699
Position President, General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca), Saudi Arabia
Biography Abdullah Rehaimi was appointed president of Gaca in 2003. Prior to this, Rehaimi spent 26 years working at the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, a state-owned lending institution, where he held various managerial positions before being appointed director. He holds directorships at the local National Cooperative Insurance Company, National Commercial Bank and United Insurance Company of Bahrain. Rehaimi is a member of the executive council of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission and was appointed chairman of Middle East Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation CEO committee in January 2010. Rehaimi is overseeing the expansion of Medina airport, which is the first airport in the region to be developed as a public-private partnership. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Mineral Sciences.
Contact Tel: (+966) 2 640 5000
Position CEO, Oman Airports Management Company
Biography George Bellew has been CEO of state-owned Oman Airports Management Company since September 2005. Oman Airports Management Company is responsible for the operations of Muscat International airport and Salalah airport. Bellew is currently overseeing a major expansion of the two airports. Before moving to Oman, Bellew was CEO of Christchurch International airport in New Zealand. Prior to his career in the aviation industry, Bellew worked in the timber industry and the petroleum sector. He has also held a number of non-executive directorships with companies in diverse sectors such as hospital services, electricity distribution and tourism. Bellew has a degree in science and commerce. In 2010, more than 5.7 million passengers used Muscat International, while Salalah handled 455,000 passengers.
Contact Tel: (+968) 2 451 8030