Six executives driving significant expansion of the UAE’s major airports: Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Thani, Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi, Paul Griffiths, James Bennett and Andrew Gower
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum
Position Chairman, Dubai Airports
Biography Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum is the chairman of Dubai Airports, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Emirates, and president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. He has spearheaded Dubai’s rapid growth into a global travel hub with the fourth busiest airport for international passenger and cargo traffic. Sheikh Ahmed began his career in the aviation industry in 1985 when he was appointed president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, the governing body that oversees the activities of Dubai International airport. Under his leadership, the aviation authority went through a restructuring in April 2007, which resulted in the creation of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority as the local regulatory body and Dubai Airports as the owner and operator of airports. Sheikh Ahmed has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Denver in the US.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 216 6916
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Thani
Position Chairman, Sharjah Department of Civil Aviation
Biography Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad al-Thani is the chairman of Sharjah Department of Civil Aviation. He also became chairman of the emirate’s low-cost carrier Air Arabia in 2003. Sheikh Abdullah is a member of the executive council of Sharjah and has a strong track record in the UAE’s aviation sector. While overseeing both Sharjah’s airport and Air Arabia, he has witnessed the growth of one of the first low-cost carriers in the Middle East. The airport, which has existed since 1932, is expanding its facilities in line with the increasing passenger volumes recorded by Air Arabia. Air Arabia has proven to be profitable in 2012 and is expanding its destination network, targeting Russian and Ukrainian markets. As well as his positions within the transport industry, Sheikh Abdullah is the chairman of Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club.
Contact Tel: (+971) 6 558 1111
Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi
Position Director general, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)
Biography Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi was appointed director general of the GCAA in 2008. He was elected chairman of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission Council in 2010. One of his current responsibilities is to oversee the GCAA’s 2011-13 strategic plan, which focuses on improving safety and security across the UAE’s aviation sector at the same time as reducing the level of regulatory intervention. The GCAA was established in 1996 to act as the federal regulatory agency of the UAE, responsible for safety, security and regulation of civil aviation. It is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, with a regional office in Dubai. Before joining the GCAA, Al-Suwaidi held several senior positions in the UAE Air Force. He started his career as a pilot in the Air Force in 1981. He has a degree in law from Beirut Arab University and a master’s degree in military science.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 211 1556
Position CEO, Dubai Airports
Biography Paul Griffiths became the CEO of Dubai Airports in October 2007. He is responsible for the operation and development of Dubai International airport as well as Dubai World Central’s Al-Maktoum International airport, which has partially opened and is expected to cater to 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of freight annually once fully operational. The Al-Maktoum airport is part of Dubai Airports’ $7.8bn strategic plan for 2020 that aims to see Dubai become a global aviation hub for passengers and cargo. Griffiths oversaw the launch of Dubai International’s Terminal 3 in 2008, a year after joining the firm. Before moving to Dubai, he was the managing director of London’s Gatwick Airport from 2004. Griffiths also worked 14 years with the UK’s Virgin Group. During the 1980s, he worked for several years in Hong Kong developing the marketing and commercial planning for the then start-up airline Dragonair.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 216 6916
Position CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC)
Biography James Bennett became CEO of ADAC in 2010. ADAC is responsible for the operation and management of Abu Dhabi International airport and Abu Dhabi’s smaller airports Al-Ain International, Al-Bateen Executive, Sir Bani Yas and Delma Island. One of Bennett’s chief responsibilities is overseeing the rapid expansion of the Abu Dhabi hub where a new midfield terminal is being built to support the growth ambitions of the UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways and the increasing passenger volumes passing through the airport. Before moving to ADAC, Bennett worked for the US’ Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for 14 years and was appointed president and CEO of the authority in 2003. He has a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Auburn University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan, both in the US.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 505 5000
Position CEO, Ras al-Khaimah International airport (Rak Airport)
Biography Andrew Gower became CEO of Rak Airport in early 2012. He joined the firm in September 2011 from the UK’s John Lennon airport. Gower held a number of different roles at the Liverpool hub, including director of operations and airport director. He was responsible for the airport’s day-to-day operations and making sure it operated safely and securely. Prior to this, Gower worked at the UK’s Manchester International airport from 1990 to 1997. As CEO of Rak Airport, he is looking to increase passenger throughput and position Ras al-Khaimah as an alternative entry point into the UAE. The northern emirates hub is playing a role in supporting RAK Airways, following the carrier’s relaunch as a value airline in 2010, after it ceased operating in its first iteration as a result of 2008’s global financial crisis.
Contact Tel: (+971) 7 244 8111
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