Maurice Flanagan KBE (b. 1928) is the founding CEO of Emirates and was the Executive Vice-Chairman of The Emirates Group until his retirement in 2013, with a career spanning more than 60 years in aviation.
After serving in the RAF as a navigation officer, Maurice started his career in 1953 as a management trainee with BOAC, the forerunner of British Airways. 1974, he joined British Airways’ senior management team where he gained the experience which prepared him for the massive part he would play in the history of Emirates. In 1978, he was seconded to Dnata, the organisation appointed by the government of Dubai to run its travel and airport interests. Maurice took up the position of Director and General Manager and six years later led the 10-man team which hatched the incredible plan to launch an airline in five months on a budget of just $10m, with no protection against competition in the UAE home market, and no subsidy of any kind.
Maurice was the Managing Director for the inaugural Emirates flight in 1985 and his pivotal role in the company’s development was recognised in 1990 when he was appointed Group Managing Director of The Emirates Group. The airline went on to become the largest in the Middle East, operating over 3,500 flights per week from its hub at Dubai International Airport, to more than 142 cities in 78 countries across six continents. Maurice was Vice Chairman and Group President from 2003–2006 before becoming Executive Vice-Chairman. At the time of his retirement, the airline was the fourth-largest in the world in terms of international passengers carried and the third largest in terms of scheduled passenger-kilometres flown.
Maurice was invested as a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 2010 for services to the British aviation industry and British exports. He had previously been invested as CBE in 2000, in recognition of his contribution to community relations in the UAE and services to aviation.
Maurice was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2005