He’s been with Emirates since day one and pivotal in managing the airline’s growth for the past 28 years. From Managing Director of Emirates in 1985 Sir Maurice Flanagan went on to become Emirates Group’s Executive Vice Chairman. It’s from this position that he retired in April 2013. Read on for a brief look at his spectacular career.
Maurice Flanagan started his career in 1953 with BOAC, the forerunner of British Airways, as a graduate trainee after serving in the Royal Air Force as a navigation officer. He ascended through a variety of overseas posts and returned to the UK in 1965 as a route planning manager. In 1978 Flanagan came to Dubai to launch and manage DNATA. Six years later, in 1984, he led the 10-man team which hatched the plan to launch an airline in five months on a budget of just $10m, with no protection against competition in Emirates’ home market, and no subsidy of any kind. Emirates started flying in October 1985 with two aircraft leased from PIA and “after three of four profitable years we were in the position to buy our own planes”, recalls Flanagan.
To many, Sir Maurice Flanagan was synonymous with Emirates Airline and received numerous awards for his impressive aviation career.
These distinctions included the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000. Other accolades: Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators and Freeman of the City of London in November 2008 and the Official Airline Guide (OAG) Lifetime Achievement Award during the OAG Airline of the Year Awards 2005 ceremony. On his retiring ceremony in April 2013 an Emirates spokesperson said: “It would be impossible in a short statement to capture the magnitude of his achievements – suffice to say he has been instrumental in the founding and phenomenal growth of Emirates and dnata. Sir Maurice will be greatly missed and we wish him the very best for his well-deserved retirement.”
Even Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, had a touching message for Sir Maurice Flanagan: “I salute you as a friend and colleague. On behalf of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we thank you for the huge contribution you have made. On this sad occasion Sir Maurice retires from the company, but he will remain part of the Emirates family and Dubai will always be his home”.
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