Four years ago, I moved over to the other side. I had been at Saudia Airlines for 28 years and by that time, I knew the workings of an airline inside and out. The aviation industry is vast and so interdependent, but there is one common denominator between all stakeholders in this industry – and that is IATA. This is where I had taken my aviation journey four years ago; to the trade association representing more than 300 airlines worldwide and in one of the most exciting, dynamic and fastest-growing regions - the Africa and Middle East (AME) region.
I took up the role of Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East and underwent an organizational transformation that enabled our strong teams to better serve our stakeholders and put our customers right at the heart of our business. I knew what it is that airlines needed from their trade association and we all worked day and night to meet those needs. Four years later, I am extremely proud of the heights our region has reached. And on my last day, I am proud to be advocating on behalf of our industry (sharing my very last interview with Alarabiya as AME RVP) and will continue to use my voice to help keep our aviation afloat.
But today is nothing like four years ago. As we navigate and adapt to an unprecedented crisis, collaboration has never been more vital. We must work hand in hand and strengthen our partnerships in the name of the industry we all love and serve. Aviation is more than a transport industry; it’s a catalyst for prosperity, an enabler of social and economic development and a symbol of freedom. The value of aviation is indispensable and working together is the only way to ensure this value only grows. IATA has undoubtedly proved this during the COVID crisis.
I leave the Africa and Middle East region in the capable hands of Kamil Alawadhi who will be supported by a very strong and capable AME team of experts, and I look forward to seeing our partnerships continue to grow under his leadership.
As for me, I will be leading IATA’s Customer, Financial and Digital Services, an exciting and challenging role that will allow me to continue serving you, our members and stakeholders, on some of the most pressing issues facing our industry at the moment. I look forward to working together for another four years and beyond.
Wishing all continued success and even greater achievements in the future.