James Hogan’s Remarks at AACO Award Ceremony


James Hogan was recognized for his contribution to Middle East aviation during the 50th Annual General Meeting of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) in Sharjah, UAE on 21 November 2017. Mr. Hogan’s remarks upon this occasion are quoted below:


Your Highness, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great honour to be recognised by the Association in this way. I have spent the last 15 years of my working life here in the region
and it means a great deal to me to receive this award.

The honour is of course not mine alone, and there are so many people I would like to acknowledge here today.

First and foremost, I would like to thank His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Working under his guidance, and the wider leadership of Abu Dhabi was an extraordinary honour.

It was their long-term vision, commitment and investment, which led to the creation of Etihad Airways and which set the clear mandate for that business: to create a safe, best in class airline, which would operate on a commercial basis and which would support the development of Abu Dhabi.

It was their support which allowed the management and staff to build an airline which not only took on the global mega-carriers but which became recognised as the best in the world. It was their support which allowed it to evolve into a wide-ranging aviation and travel group, helping create sustainable businesses in Abu Dhabi to provide long term economic value for the Emirate. And it was their support which helped it become a strong ambassador for the Emirate of  Abu Dhabi around the world.

I would also like to use this opportunity to thank the management team and the staff of the Etihad Aviation Group. Outside this room, there are many who believe airlines are all about the metal… but we here know it is always the people who make the difference. And I was fortunate enough to work with a truly world-class team of committed individuals. More importantly, we were able to set in motion the leadership programmes, which will see the development of thousands of Gulf nationals, putting in place the next generation of aviation professionals.

I am intensely proud of the decade I spent at Etihad. I believe we developed a business that really stood out, and met the mandate set by our shareholders. I am delighted that Tony Douglas will take the Group forward in the next phase of its development. He is an outstanding executive and I am certain he will be very successful in his new role. While his mandate will undoubtedly differ from the one in 2006, I know he will put the same energy and commitment into delivering it tat I hope I have.

In conclusion, I am grateful to the Arab Air Carriers’ Association, not just for this recognition today, but for the last 15 years. From my days at Gulf Air through the years at Etihad, I have now spent a significant part of my working life here in this region.

What a time it has been. We have been through economic cycles, up and down; we have been through major geopolitical issues; and we have faced many challenges from competitors around the world. But whilst many of us in this room were fierce competitors ourselves, we all shared one core belief: in the healthy future of the industry in the Pan-Arab world. Aviation is a sector in which this region has been able to compete at the very highest level, and it has become a recognised centre for excellence.

Along with everyone here I am proud to have played my part in this, and wish you all every success in the future.

Thank you again.


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