Air Transport World

Emirates CEO Maurice Flanagan. (Interview).

Traditional thinking dictates that a government should protect its national airline, at least in its first years of operation but usually indefinitely, but this has never been the ease for us. This was a farsighted policy and it has encouraged the development of a range of commercial disciplines that have been essential to our success.

Emirates, the Middle East's most profitable and forward-looking airline, took a giant step toward joining the first tier of global carriers with its decision to launch the A380 and then to become its biggest customer. Fending off rumors of impending retirement, CEO Maurice Flanagan talked to ATW about Emirates' success and future direction.

* Your competitors argue that Emirates prospers because of the funding of its owner, the Dubai government. How do you answer the critics?

We have become accustomed to one or two self-proclaimed experts in our industry declaring publicly that of course Emirates could not possibly achieve consistently profitable results without some form of hidden subsidy, despite our publication of transparent audited annual accounts. …

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