Long-serving Emirates president Tim Clark still gets a “real buzz” from the ”herculean project” of running the Middle Eastern giant, years after he delayed his retirement.

Emirates confirmed in late 2019 that Clark was to step down in mid-2020 and move into an advisory role, but the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic meant he extended his stay as president, so far by more than three years.

Emirates president

Source: BillyPix

“Emirates is a herculean project and it requires a lot of TLC,” he told the Airlines 2023 conference in London on 20 November when asked what motivates him to continue in his role. “It requires attention to the detail – it requires it at the micro end but also the macro [level].

“These kinds of things take careful managing – you cannot make any missteps, especially when you’ve got 260 widebodies flying all the time.

“It keeps me going.”

His only direct reference to his future at Emirates is to acknowledge that he cannot stay ”indefinitely”.

”We will pass on, you know,” he says, adding to laughs from the audience: ”I keep telling my guys that if they get any problems, just send a fax up,  and they say ’no it will probably go down’.”

Clark, who was a founding member of the Emirates management team in 1985, says he continues to arrive at the office by 06:15 every morning – frequently after nights spent fretting over the challenge of running the carrier. 

“Mentally I really enjoy it,” he says, citing the “great team of guys” he works with in Dubai.

“Does this give me a kick? Yes, of course it does. Do I get tired? Yes, absolutely. But then, so do we all,” he states, adding: “I don’t suppose I’m different from anybody else; I’m just a bit older.”