The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has appointed an airline lobbyist as its new leader. Fabio Gamba, most recently deputy secretary general of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), will join the business aviation association as CEO on September 1. EBAA’s current president and CEO, Brian Humphries, will remain as president.
Gamba has held his post with the AEA since 2006, tasked with promoting the interests of legacy carriers and establishing strong ties with European institutions and member states. His career began at Canso, the civil air navigation services organization, after which he joined Boeing and eventually was appointed deputy director of business development and strategy for Europe for the U.S. airframer.
Gamba, who has dual Swiss and Italian citizenship, says of business aviation: “To realize its truly amazing potential and deploy its full benefits to the economy, business aviation needs fair and equitable rules that recognize its specificities. Having spent the last five years fighting the airline corner, I now look forward to using that expertise to help business aviation grow and develop its vital role in Europe.”
Said Humphries: “We are delighted to welcome Fabio to EBAA as our new CEO. As EBAA’s roles, responsibilities and activities grow in line with our rapidly expanding membership, and the fast-changing European infrastructure, Fabio brings just the right blend of energy, skills and knowledge that we need to sustain our success. Indeed, his extensive experience in the airline sector will be a particular asset in continuing to convince European leaders of the vital role of our sector in the European economy.”
Humphries joined EBAA as chairman in 1996 while still serving as CEO of Shell’s international flight department. After retiring from Shell in 2005 he was appointed CEO of EBAA and four years later took on the presidency as well. EBAA says that “in his continuing capacity as EBAA president, Humphries will play an active strategic part in support of the board of governors.”
Humphries has already spread his professional wings beyond EBAA with the announcement a week earlier that he had joined the advisory board of aircraft leasing group Milestone Aviation. Humphries, who was previously CEO of the Shell Aircraft flight department and an Air Commodore in Britain’s Royal Air Force, also serves as chairman of the British Helicopter Association.
Milestone, headquartered in the Irish capital Dublin, was formed in August 2010 by Richard Santulli, founder and former president of NetJets. To date, the company says it has leased two dozen helicopters and private jets with a combined value of more than $200 million. Further commitments for aircraft should increase the value of its operating lease portfolio beyond $300 million by year-end.
“We are honored to have someone of Brian’s caliber serving on our advisory board and supporting our mission,” said Milestone chairman Santulli. “His knowledge and expertise within both the helicopter and private jet industries will greatly contribute to our success and growth.”
“There are many high-quality helicopter operators who cannot [build] their business or modernize their fleet because they cannot raise the necessary capital,” commented Humphries. “Private jet owners are also struggling to raise funds in the current environment. The 100-percent financing offered by Milestone is a boon for the industry that will lead to increased growth for the sector.”