Having run the airline since its first day of operations in 1985, Emirates executive vice chairman Maurice Flanagan has achieved an appropriate measure of fame as the hand that has guided the Dubai carrier to its current position, operating more than 100 jetliners and employing 30,000 people overall. Now, Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has formally recognized that success by grant of a Legends Award and induction to its Hall of Fame. The award recognizes an aviation “lifetime of strategic leadership, innovation and influence.” Previous winners include Singapore Airlines chief executive, Dr. Cheong Choong Kong.
After serving for seven years as general manager of Dnata, Flanagan started the government-owned airline in the mid-1980s with two aircraft, three destinations and some “seed corn” start-up finance, with the instruction: “Don’t come back for more.”
He didn’t, and after filing a loss only once–in the carrier’s second year–Emirates has remained consistently profitable and paid dividends to its owner. Indeed, in the six months prior to September 30, 2007, the group made a net profit of $643 million, nearly doubling its performance of a year earlier.