Having edited the Airline Business appointments page for what, seven years, now, I feel comfortable reading the tea leaves when it comes to career progression.
So, the revelation that Ghaith Saeed Al Ghaith, currently executive vice-president of operations at Emirates, is being rewarded with the job of leading Dubai’s soon-to-be launched low-cost carrier leads me to believe that the next step for this accomplished airline manager will be to lead Emirates itself someday.
Since it was launched in the mid-1980s, Emirates has been led by Maurice Flanagan with Tim Clark coming along later to head up the airline part of the group. Ghaith has risen under their guidance to become the most senior local in the Emirates management team.
For me the promotion to this high-profile launch is a major boost for Ghaith’s career and an obvious demonstration of the confidence being placed in him by Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
I would expect Ghaith to lead the new carrier through the launch phase and then to return to Emirates at the highest level, possibly after 2-4 years, having absorbed lots of good new experience along the way.