INTERVIEW: Thierry Antinori - Emirates Airline executive vice president

London
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Why did you decide to pursue a career in aviation?

From a young age I have always been interested in meeting new people and experiencing new ­environments. What better way is there to get to know the world and the people that make up its many diverse cultures than by working in aviation and covering the globe?

How did your career path lead you to Emirates?

These days, all roads – or should that be routes – lead to Dubai, and after 20 years working with European flag carriers, Emirates was the natural next step. With any career you always want to work for the best and for a brand you admire, and for me this brand was Emirates. I already knew the Dubai mindset – that no goal is too big and no challenge too difficult. It is this “can-do” positive attitude that I gravitate toward, and no airline says “can-do” more than Emirates. The epitome of a 21st century airline, Emirates embodies all that I love about aviation – it is bold, innovative, modern and growing every day, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to play a key role in this.

How have your previous roles helped you?

Every job brings its own set of challenges, and these challenges provide great learning opportunities. Throughout my career I’ve had the chance to work across many different cultures, particularly in Europe. This has given me tremendous insight and ­perspective in connecting with people, and has proven especially useful in my role at Emirates, where we have staff representing over 140 different nationalities.

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Thierry Antinori

Emirates

What do you enjoy most about your position?

Leading and working with ­people from all around the globe and working for an airline that values innovation make my job incredibly satisfying. But perhaps the most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to see ­customers experience the Emirates product first-hand. We continue to be the drivers of change in our industry, from the quality of our cabins to being the first ­airline to fully ­recognise the ­potential of planes such as the Airbus A380. At Emirates the glass is always half full. We know we can never rest on our laurels, and so we invest our profits directly back into our product. Our customers recognise our dedication, and it is this investment that differentiates us from our competitors.

What are the biggest challenges?

Increasing revenue quality amid double-digit yearly growth is ­certainly a challenge, but one that I feel we have mastered in the last few years. The key to success is tacking adversity head-on, staying on top of changing ­market conditions and most ­importantly, teamwork.

Emirates is one of the world’s most highly respected airline brands. How has it established such a strong position and what is it doing to stay ahead?

Our investment in our staff and our product offering has played a key role in our success. We’re flying a young fleet of aircraft which really inspires our staff and helps us to maintaining a quality service. In July we’ll take possession of our 50th A380 – an aircraft that enables us to deliver the world-class innovations in passenger experience that define Emirates, and that our employees can be proud of. Our sponsorship programme has also gone a long way to growing the visibility of the Emirates brand in the UK, with key partnerships such as our support of Arsenal football club, Lancashire and Durham county cricket clubs and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. This all fits into our “Hello Tomorrow” branding, which reminds our customers and Emirates employees of the commitment we’ve made to being an industry leader.