Emirates president Tim Clark will hand over the reins in June 2020 after 35 years helping transform the Dubai-based carrier into a world-leading international carrier.
Clark, one of the world’s most influential aviation executives, will stay on as an adviser at the airline.
He was instrumental in growing the airline into the world’s biggest international airline and transforming Dubai into a transportation powerhouse.
Known for his forthright views, he held tremendous sway over manufacturers Boeing and Airbus and influenced the development of both the Airbus A380 superjumbo and the Boeing 777.
He foreshadowed his retirement in October during an interview with AirlineRatings European editor Andreas Spaeth as the two discussed his 70th birthday.
“You’ve got to be able to mentally and physically lead a business,’’ he said. “Time will knock on the door and this is a younger man’s business.”
Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum praised Clark in a memo to staff.
“Through wars, economic recessions, disasters natural or manmade, and various industry upheavals, Tim has ably steered and grown Emirates to its standing today as the world’s largest international airline, and an eminent player in the global airline industry,” Sheikh Ahmed said in the memo, obtained by Reuters.
Clark joined Emirates in 1985 as part of a team led by Maurice Flanagan tasked to launch an airline within five months with $US10 million of seed funding that looked good and made money.
He had previously worked with Gulf Air and Caledonian Airways.
Emirates launched its first flights in October 1985 using a Boeing 737 and Airbus 300 wet-leased from Pakistani International Airlines.
The first five years saw Emirates grow its network to 14 destinations and by the time Clark took over as president in 2003, it had become a significant global player.
As of September 30, 2019, its fleet stood at 267 aircraft (including freighters) serving a network spanning 158 destinations in 84 countries.
It has been consistently profitable and made $US235 million in its latest first half while carrying 29.6 million passengers in the six months to September 30.
Emirates was the first airline to sign up for the Airbus A380 superjumbo and was a significant factor in keeping the program going.
The airline wowed customers at the aircraft’s introductions with an onboard bar and a shower in first class.
Clark would steadfastly support the aircraft throughout his career, although it was a decision by Emirates to cut back its A380 order that would ultimately sound the double-decker’s death-knell.
Clark was knighted for his services to the aviation industry and British prosperity in 2014.