UAE aviation's six most influential executives

14 December 2007

The six most influential executives in the UAE’s aviation industry: Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum; Maurice Flanagan; Bob Johnson; James Hogan; Adel Ali; and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif al-Nahyan.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum has presided over one of modern aviation’s greatest success stories. President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of Dubai Airports, and chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Group, he has established Dubai as an aviation hub of global repute. In Emirates Airline, he plans to create the world’s largest airline in less than a decade. Emirates has become a global brand since its launch in 1985, sponsoring sports teams and events worldwide. Its expansion shows no sign of slowing. At the Dubai Airshow, Emirates spent $35bn on planes from Airbus as it seeks to corner the prestige long-haul market. In 2003, Sheikh Ahmed was appointed deputy chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. Since then, the promotion of the emirate has accelerated, with the airline as its lynchpin.

Contact - Tel: (+9714) 203 2050

Maurice Flanagan

Working with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, Maurice Flanagan has overseen the creation of Emirates Group and its airline. A veteran of 50 years in the aviation industry, Flanagan was appointed executive vice-chairman of the group in 2006. After joining the group at its inception, he was managing director of the airline between 1985 and 1990. In 2003, he became vice-chairman and group president. Prior to the creation of Emirates, Flanagan was director and general manager of airport services group Dnata, the forerunner to Emirates Group. Previously, he worked for British Airways and BOAC. Outspoken and occasionally controversial, Flanagan raised eyebrows recently when he described Al Gore’s award-winning film about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, as “absolute nonsense”. Nonetheless, he remains a hugely influential and respected figure within the industry.

Contact - Tel: (+9714) 203 2050

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson was appointed chief executive officer of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) in August 2006 and is leading the company into the most dramatic expansion in its short history. At the Dubai Airshow in November, Johnson sealed deals for 228 commercial aircraft from Airbus and Boeing at a total cost of $28.7bn. The move instantly propelled DAE into becoming a major client in the global aircraft leasing industry. The business was launched in 2006, with $15bn in start-up funds from Dubai’s ruling Al-Maktoum family. Johnson was previously chairman of Honeywell’s aerospace business, the world’s largest supplier of aircraft engines, equipment, systems and services. Prior to that, he was president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Aerospace. Before joining Honeywell, Johnson served as president and chief executive officer of AlliedSignal Aerospace marketing, sales and service.

Contact - Tel: (+9714) 428 9600

James Hogan

James Hogan was appointed chief executive officer of Etihad Airways in September 2006 and, under the commercial mandate granted by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif al-Nahyan, has continued the airline’s rapid development throughout 2007. This year, he will continue to expand the airline to cover 70 destinations by 2010. Since its launch in 2003, it has grown to serve more than 30 locations and is building up its fleet. This included a $2.5bn order for 12 wide-body aircraft announced at this year’s Paris Air Show. With 25 years’ experience in the industry, Hogan joined Etihad from Gulf Air, where he was responsible for Project Falcon, repositioning the business on a commercial platform. Between 1997 and 2002, he worked for BMI British Midland, the Granada Group and the Australian Tesna consortium, created with the aim of acquiring Ansett Airlines from administration, before joining Gulf Air in 2002.

Contact - Tel: (+9712) 505 8000

Adel Ali

Adel Ali left Gulf Air in 2003 to head the Middle East’s first low-cost airline, creating a template that has been widely copied as the short-haul sector has taken off. Since its launch in October 2003, Air Arabia has expanded rapidly. Operating out of Sharjah, the airline uses 12 Airbus A320s to service a network of 31 destinations, flying to the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, as well as across the Middle East and North Africa. The airline broke even in its first year of operation and has shown steady growth in both profits and revenue over the past four years. Ali has 25 years’ experience in the aviation and tourism industries. Prior to joining Air Arabia, he worked as vice-president of the commercial and customer service division for Gulf Air. Before that, Ali was general manager for the Middle East and Africa at BA, and held senior positions at other European and Middle East airlines.

Contact - Tel: (+9716) 558 0000

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif al-Nahyan

A member of the ruling family and the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Ahmed was appointed chairman of Etihad Airways in 2003, under a presidential decree from President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The Sheikh has driven the rapid growth of Etihad since its launch, placing it in the top tier of Gulf aviation within three years and competing globally with the region’s largest carriers and international rivals. Since 2001, Sheikh Ahmed has been chairman of the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company. Recently renamed Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, the company is making a bold play to position itself at the forefront of the region’s aviation and maintenance industries. Sheikh Ahmed was chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation between 2004 and 2006 and president and chief executive officer of Gulf Air between 1996 and 2000.

Contact - Tel: (+9712) 505 8000

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