Middle East aviation IT

13 June 2011

Six individuals overseeing the use of information technology (IT) in the region’s airline industry: Ali al-Hamdany, Khalid Alenzi, Ahmad Abu Ragheb, Muhammad Ali Albakri, Neetan Chopra and Gordon Penfold

Ali al-Hamdany

Position Group director IT, Air Arabia

Biography Ali al-Hamdany is group director of IT for Sharjah-headquartered budget airline Air Arabia. With more than 18 years of experience, Al-Hamdany has overseen the expansion of Air Arabia’s IT systems from just two computers and a fax machine seven years ago to an advanced infrastructure that today handles flights to more than 50 destinations today. He is in charge of all IT projects, including new initiatives, managing the end-to-end infrastructure, website and systems development. Al-Hamdany is currently working on plans to build an in-house data centre, upgrade the airline’s IT security and extend local networks to cover international bases. He is a graduate of Baghdad’s University of Technology and has a master’s degree in engineering design and IT management. Al-Hamdany previously worked with UK’s British Airways.

Contact Tel: (+971) 6 558 0000

Khalid Alenzi

Position Head of IT development office, Kuwait Airways

Biography Khalid Alenzi is the head of Kuwait Airways’ IT development office. He is responsible for managing the administration of the IT department and overseeing the annual budget. Alenzi controls the department’s purchasing, training and contractual requirements, and has been instrumental in modernising the IT system at Kuwait Airways. Alenzi has been with Kuwait Airways for more than 21 years. During his time at the airline, he helped to rebuild the IT department from scratch after it was scrapped in 1990, when Iraqi forces attacked the airline during Kuwait’s invasion. He has led the technical team on numerous occasions to implement new systems that were introduced in 1995 and 2000. In 2006, Alenzi became a management representative for the ISO 9001-2008 quality project.

Contact Tel: (+965) 2 434 5555

Ahmad Abu Ragheb

Position Chief information officer (CIO), Royal Jordanian (RJ)

Biography Ahmad Abu Ragheb is the CIO of Amman-headquartered RJ. As a part of this role, Abu Ragheb has overseen the implementation of advanced IT systems at RJ. He also played a key role in using IT solutions to make the airline profitable. Abu Ragheb heads all the different IT departments within the airline, including project management office; security; quality; business architecture; technical support; and networking. Abu Ragheb joined RJ in 1981. He has managed IT projects that qualified RJ to join the Oneworld Alliance in 2007. He has previously served as chairman of the IT committee for Arab Air Carriers Organisation. Abu Ragheb is currently working on new IT solutions, such the Amadeus departure control system, Sita Airfare Insight for fares management, archiving, and ground resources and fuel management systems.

Contact Tel: (+962) 6 520 2000

Muhammad Ali Albakri

Position Vice-president for IT, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia)

Biography Muhammad Ali Albakri has been vice-president for IT at Saudia for the past 20 years. As a part of this role, Albakri has overseen the implementation of the flag carrier’s IT masterplan, which included an upgrade to its global infrastructure and complete replacement of the business application platform. Previously, Albakri served as chief of systems engineering and architecture and director of enterprise resource planning and maintenance, repair and operations. He also worked as general manager for applications development. Albakri is currently working on preparing Saudia to join the Skyteam airline alliance, introducing cloud computing virtualisation solutions and supporting privatisation. Albakri has bachelor and master of science degrees in information sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in the US. He joined Saudia after graduation.

Contact Tel: (+966) 2 686 0000

Neetan Chopra

Position Vice-president of IT strategy and architecture, Emirates

Biography Neetan Chopra is vice-president of IT strategy and architecture at Dubai-headquartered Emirates airline. He is a member of the IT executive board responsible for setting the overall vision and direction for Emirates Group IT, a $200m company providing information technology services for parent Emirates Group. Chopra has been with the company since 1995. His responsibilities include enterprise IT strategy; enterprise architecture; governance; portfolio management; innovation; quality management; information security; and risk management. Between 1992-96, Chopra worked as a consultant at Dublin-headquartered Accenture. Chopra has a bachelor of science degree in physics and a master of science degree in computer application, both from the University of Bradford in the UK. He also has a master’s degree in business administration from the same university.

Contact Tel: (+971) 4 708 1111

Gordon Penfold

Position Senior vice-president of IT, Etihad Airways

Biography Gordon Penfold is the senior vice-president of IT at Abu Dhabi-headquartered Etihad Airways. Penfold is responsible for the airline’s technology and communications policy and IT development, delivery and maintenance. Penfold has more than 30 years’ experience in the IT industry and took up his current position in January 2011. Previously, he worked with the UK’s British Airways for 13 years, where he became head of IT commercial and corporate in 2006, before being appointed as chief technology officer in 2009. Penfold has also held senior sales, marketing and operations roles with Japan’s Fujitsu. He is trained a software engineer and began his career as a defence contractor. Penfold has a degree in economics and law from the University of London and a master’s degree in computer science from Brunel University, both in the UK.

Contact Tel: (+971) 2 511 0000

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