Air Vanuatu becomes Airbus customer

 Air Vanuatu has become an Airbus customer with the purchase of four A220s. The order, split equally between the 116-seat -100 and larger -300 variants, makes it the type launch customer in the Pacific region. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in June 2020.

Derek Nice, the airline’s CEO, said, “These aircraft will be deployed to operate on our current domestic and international routes, including our newly announced non-stop Melbourne-Vanuatu service, and will bolster plans to expand our network in the South Pacific.”

The airline, founded in 1987, currently uses two ATR 72s and a Boeing 737-800. It serves 27 domestic routes and links to New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia from its Port Vila/Bauerfield base.


HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum

  President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; Chairman, Dubai Airports

  Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group.

Over the past 32 years, HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum has been at the forefront of Dubai’s remarkable economic development spearheading the successful expansion of aviation, which now supports 28 percent of Dubai’s GDP, and more recently, formulating economic, investment and fiscal policies and strategies in support of the emirate’s overarching vision.

Sheikh Ahmed embarked on his career in the aviation industry in 1985 when he was appointed President of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) – the governing body that oversaw the activities of Dubai International and Dubai Duty Free, among others. In the same year Emirates Airline –Dubai’s international carrier was launched with Sheikh Ahmed as its Chairman. He is now the Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, which includes dnata – the region’s leading travel services and ground handlng company, and other aviation related entities. Under Sheikh Ahmed’s leadership, the DCA underwent an organizational restructuring in April 2007 resulting in the creation of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) as the local regulatory body, and Dubai Airports as the owner and operator of Dubai’s airports–Dubai International and Dubai World Central.Following the restructuring, Sheikh Ahmed became the President of DCAA and Chairman of Dubai Airports.


H.E. Mohammed Abdulla Ahli

  Director-General - Dubai Civil Aviation Authority

  CEO - Dubai Air Navigation Services

H.E. Mohammed Abdulla Ahli began his aviation career in 1966 with dnata (Dubai National Air Travel Agency) and held several key positions leading to the position of Director, Ground Service according to his official public profile.

In 1982, he moved to the Department of Civil Aviation,presently the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, as Operations Director, responsible for all Airport Operations and International Affairs. He represented the Federal Government at several high level ICAO meetings, and played a key role in the establishment of the Airspace for the United Arab Emirates.

A popular figure in international circles and an expert negotiator, Mr. Ahli is widely credited for being instrumental in bringing more airlines to Dubai and steering the emirate's aviation industry in the right direction through the years. He is also touted as among the pioneers who convinced the leaders to establish Emirates Airline, now a global leader in the aviation industry.

“On the 5th of October each year, we celebrate UAE Civil Aviation Day, which gained prominence thanks to the wise guidance of our visionary leadership, which has sought to establish efficient infrastructure and provide workers in the sector with extensive skills, as well as developing the appropriate regulations that ensure the continuity and prosperity of the sector,” Mr. Ahli was quoted as saying on the occasion.


H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa

Chairman, Sharjah Airport Authority

H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, one of the UAE's eminent professionals who has played a significant part during the development of aviation and air transport in the Emirate of Sharjah, has nearly two decades of experience in Airport Management.

Ali Salim Al Midfa joined Sharjah International Airport in 1996 and held many managerial posts in the airport. He was appointed as Director of the Authority in 2005 and then as Director General of the Authority in 2012, before being appointed by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah as Chairman of Sharjah International Airport in 2014 and joining as a member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Sharjah.

 Al Midfa was elected as a member of the Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific in June 2014 and was reelected in 2017 for a new three-year term. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sharjah Aviation Services, which specializes in operating ground handling services at Sharjah International Airport as well as a member of the Sharjah Higher Committee for Human Resources.



H.E. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi

  Director General, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority

  UAE Chairman of Arab Civil Aviation Commission Council

H.E. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi was the winner of the Prime Minister's Medal for the Best Director-General in the UAE for 2017.

He was appointed director-general of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April 2008 and continues to lead the agency in its quest for more innovations and reforms.

On October 5, GCAA marked the UAE Civil Aviation Day by elevating awareness on the aviation sector among both nationals and foreign nationals in the country.

The first commercial flight arrived in the UAE in October 1932 from Pakistan. Today, the UAE aviation industry leads in infrastructure and technology innovations and international traffic volume, employing more than 500,000 people (both directly and indirectly) and contributes approximately AED169 billion (about US$46 billion) equivalent to 15 percent of the country's GDP.

“We have much to be proud of as a nation and as an industry;from humble beginnings, the UAE has become one of biggest passenger hubs in the world. Our airports and airlines are consistently ranked among the best internationally and the UAE is ranked as the top ICAO member state in compliance level with ICAO requirements under the USOAP Program,”said Mr. Al Suwaidi in his speech marking the occasion.


H.E. Abdulla bin Nasser Turki Alsubaey

Chairman, Civil Aviation Authority of Qatar

Abdulla bin Nasser Turki Alsubaey is the current chairman of the Board of Directors of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority(CAA).

His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani,Emir of the State of Qatar and Commander-in-Chief of Qatar's Armed Forces, appointed Mr. Alsubaey to the post in 2015.

Qatar, a hereditary constitutional monarchy governed by the founding and ruling Al Thani family, established the country's Civil Aviation Authority only in 2001 but it had since forged more than 150 alliances and agreements with different countries and entities.

“In QCAA, we are fully aware of the importance of the civil aviation sector and its role as a component of the Qatar economy providing possibilities to boost economic growth through creating employment opportunities, facilitating world trade, stimulating vital economic sectors such as tourism,trade, industry, among others. For such purposes, we are keen to commit to working within the framework of the State strategy and its short-and long-term plans, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030,” Mr. Alsubaey stated.


H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Group Chairman & CEO, Jebel Ali Free Zone; Group Chairman and CEO, DP World;

Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation


His Excellency Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, scion to one of Dubai's most influential political and business families, is credited for coming up with the idea to create the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), now the world's largest free zone and one of few in the Middle East capable of berthing multiple era megaships with carrying capacity of 18,000 TEU and more.

According to historical accounts, Mr. Bin Sulayem, an economics graduate from Temple University in Pennsylvania, United States, got the free trading zone idea while working in the 1970s as a customs inspector at Dubai's then dusty and sleepy port.

A conversation with a man who mistakenly came to his office brought up the subject and inspired him to travel around the world and study the tax-free zones in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Honolulu, Dallas and New York. Convinced that Dubai, then heavily dependent on the pearl industry for its economy, would be better off as a free zone trading hub in the Middle East, Mr. Bin Sulayem broached the idea to the son of then Dubai ruler Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, now The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


H.E. Abubaker Seddiq Al Khoori

Chairman, Abu Dhabi Airports

His Excellency Abubaker Seddiq Al Khoori is the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.

Previously, he was the Chairman of Aldar Properties, and prior to that H.E. was the Managing Director of Sorouh Real Estate, and worked as the Assistant Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Al Khoori has around 24 years of experience in the fields of finance and international investment. He is currently the Vice Chairman of Waha Capital PJSC. He is also a board member of Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC).

Al Khoori holds a BA Degree in Finance from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, USA, and is a certified Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a member of AIMR .


H.E. Abdulhakim bin Muhammad Al Tamimi

President of the KSA General

Authority of Civil Aviation


With rich experience and background in aviation having studied aeronautical engineering in the United States and diverse experience in the industry, locally, regionally and globally, His Excellency Abdulhakim bin Muhammad Al Tamimi was appointed President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the rank of minister, culminating his inspiring journey in the field of aviation and air transport.

As delegate to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Al Tamimi acquired a number of aviation licenses to become a certified pilot. He also received an aviation trainer certification and a commercial pilot certification, both from the United States, with qualifications in a number of jetliners.

Born in 1961, Al Tamimi began his aviation career at an early age, 21, working between 1982-1984 for Aramco, the Arab Helicopter Company now known as the Aramco Aviation Department, as its first Saudi helicopter commander.


H.E. Mohamed Abdulla Sultan Al Salami

Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation,

Government of Fujairah

H.E. Mohamed Abdulla Sultan Al Salami has been leading Fujairah government’s Department of Civil Aviation since 1986. He became a member of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority in 1997.

 Under his more than 30 years of leadership at Fujairah’s aviation sector, the emirate saw infrastructure reforms that enabled it to become an important gateway and logistics hub on the east coast of the UAE.

“As the geographical location on the east coast of the UAE, an ideal gateway for developing business and as the demand for air traffic continue to rise, we must ensure our airport supports the long-term development of the air transport industry in the UAE and region. The construction of parallel runway, runway expansion, taxi ways and new iconic control tower reaffirms the continuous growth of Fujairah and permits us to explore more connections to the region and the world,” Mr. Al Salami stated in a public message.

Mr. Al Salami, 57, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the Indiana State University in the United States. He graduated in 1984.

He began his career in the public sector upon his return to the  UAE. He served as the director of the Department of Industry and Economy in Fujairah from 1984-1986. 

In 1986, the Fujairah government tapped him to become a member of the Federal Council-UAE in addition to becoming the vice chairman of the Port of Fujairah and chairman of its aviation sector.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi

Director General, UAE Space Agency


H.E. Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi is considered one of the most qualified national leaders within the space industry,known for his leadership, management and strategic planningskills. He is an expert within communications, information systems and modern defence concepts.

Dr. Al Ahbabi has extensive experience in the development of human resources and is a strong believer in the UAE's capability in developing world-class industries.

He obtained a PhD in Communications from the University of Southampton from the United Kingdom in 2005, and a Master's Degree in Communications from the same university in 2001. He completed a degree in electronic engineering from the University of California in 1998, in addition to many specialized military and government courses.He has also won a series of honors and awards over the years.

Dr. Ahbabi has tremendous experience in civil and military work and academia. He became a telecommunications officer for the UAE Armed Forces until he reached the rank of Major.

During that period, he also worked as a coordinator for Dubai Internet City until 2000 then as a telecommunications officer for Sharyan Al Doea Network and a project manager for Yahsat military division from 2005 to 2012. He also helped establish strategic projects including the innovation and development centre for the Armed Forces which allowed him to work closely with partners and stakeholders.

Dr. Ahbabi has contributed and led numerous strategic projects in the ICT domain towards the benefit of the UAE government. He has also led a UAE Armed Forces Think Tank Project within the Centre of Excellence. His role included advising the military and government at a strategic level on emerging concepts and technologies in the area of smart defense, cyber warfare and space developments.

He has led YAHSAT MilSatCom and other space projects. He has an active role in ITU-R, United Nations space working groups and various ICT professional associations.

Dr. Ahbabi is also a key speaker in a number of international conferences in the area of Smart Defense, mil-Space,Cybersecurity, and Smart governments. He is also a board member of YahSat Company and of the UAE ICT fund.

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