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Keynote Speakers

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Steve Allen- Chief Executive Officer - dnata

Steve Allen is responsible for all dnata’s businesses covering ground handling, catering and travel across six continents. In addition, he has responsibility for managing Emirates Group’s relationships with its associated businesses, including MMI, Emirates CAE Flight Training and Premier Inn.

Steve joined dnata in 2009 as Vice President Operations, where he was instrumental in the birth of the One dnata Strategy. He then moved to lead the Emirates Group Performance Development department in 2011 as Senior Vice President, and led a number of major change programmes.

In 2015, he was appointed Divisional Senior Vice President UAE Airport Operations and also began overseeing dnata Travel and its ongoing transformation from June 2020. Steve was appointed dnata’s global CEO  in March 2021.

Prior to joining dnata, Steve had 15 years of experience in British Airways in the UK and Middle East.

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Michael Doersam- Chief Financial and Group Services Officer - Emirates Group

Michael joined Emirates in 2006 as Vice President for Outstation Finance and Risk Management at the Group’s headquarters in Dubai. In this role, he was responsible for the Finance activities across the airline’s network in more than 80 countries and the Group’s credit risk management in its home market of the United Arab Emirates. Two years later, in 2008 he was appointed Senior Vice President for Group Finance.

In June 2021 he was appointed Group CFO responsible for managing Finance Strategy, Financial Reporting, Treasury, Management Accounting, Global Financial Services and Insurance within the company.

Michael is also a board member of Emirates Aviation University, Emirates Flight Catering, MMI/Emirates Leisure Retail, and Emirates-CAE Flight Training. He is actively engaged with the aviation industry as a member of the Airline Financial Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and also guest lectures at the University of St. Gallen.

Prior to joining Emirates, Michael was Head of Controlling at Berlin-Chemie AG in the pharmaceutical industry. He began his career at Lufthansa AG where he held various managerial positions in Finance, Internal Audit, Cost Management, Corporate Controlling and Risk Management based in Cologne, Bangkok, Toronto and Frankfurt. Michael moved from Lufthansa to head all Finance-related activities for the Star Alliance organization before joining Thomas Cook AG (former C&N) as Director Corporate Controlling.

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Oliver Grohmann- Executive Vice President Human Resources - Emirates Group

Oliver is a global Human Resources leader with extensive experience in different industries and across different regions. He has joined the Emirates Group in Dubai, UAE in 2019 and held different HR leadership roles across Emirates and dnata.

Originally from Germany, Oliver worked as a lawyer before embarking on his professional HR career at Lufthansa German Airlines. He held various local, regional, and global HR leadership roles in different divisions of Mercedes-Benz/Daimler, including Berlin, Stuttgart, and finally as Senior Vice President Human Resources Latin America, Central Europe, Africa, Asia, and Middle East, based in Singapore. He has also worked as Corporate Vice President Global Human Resources for LG Electronics and Hyundai Capital in Seoul, South Korea.

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Ahmed Safa- Divisional Senior Vice President Engineering - Emirates Group

Ahmed Safa is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction, organisation and guidance to a large multinational, multicultural teams across all Engineering and Maintenance disciplines. His team includes Operational Departments, Technical Fleet Organisation, Lifecycle Asset Management, Engineering Training, Engineering Facilities and Engineering Procurement.

Ahmed Safa joined Emirates in 1991 as an engineer and rose up the ranks. In 2006, he became Vice President and in 2007, he was appointed Senior Vice President, leading the front-end of engineering that supports the Dubai hub and outstations. Ahmed’s responsibilities expanded into Heavy Maintenance and Overhaul, and in 2016 he was asked to lead a broad number of sectors within Engineering, including supply chain, inventory management, design organisation, aircraft configuration, and engineering innovation among others. He is the nominated post holder for CAMO – Continuous Airworthiness Management Organisation.

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Mohamed Abubaker Farea- ICAO Middle East Regional Director

Mr. Abubaker is currently the ICAO Middle East Regional Director, responsible for maintaining continuous liaison with the States to which he is accredited and with appropriate organizations, regional civil aviation bodies, sub-regional bodies, UN Agencies, and programs operating in the region.

Mr. Abubaker is an aviation enthusiast whose passion for aviation started 30 years ago. Throughout this period, he acquired solid aviation experience and held various advisory and leadership roles, allowing him to support States in achieving their strategic objectives, designing policies, and making decisions within the context of global, regional, and national plans. He began his career at Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company, where he held various positions until his promotion to senior engineer.

At the establishment of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Mr. Abubaker was appointed as the first UAE Airworthiness Inspector, playing an active role in developing GCAA’s laws and regulations. He also served as Director of the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Department, Chairman of the Safety Committee for Arab States, and Chairman of the Committee for the Development of Civil Aviation Systems in the Gulf Cooperation Council. He then joined Etihad Airways as Executive Vice President for Security, Safety, and Quality and was elected as a council security member in the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Following this, he was appointed CEO of Istithmar World Aviation/Dubai World Group, where he managed the investments of the domestic and foreign aviation sectors in Dubai World and contributed to transforming the company back to profitability. Later, he was appointed Director of International Affairs and Civil Aviation in the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, responsible for bilateral air service agreements between the concerned States.

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Kashif Khalid- Regional Director, OSS Africa and the Middle East

Kashif Khalid is Regional Director – Africa & Middle East for IATA’s Operations, Safety & Security division with a core focus on Airports, Passenger Experience, Cargo, Ground Operations, Security & Facilitation, providing leadership and advocacy with stakeholders to further IATA’s mission, projects, strategic partnerships, and industry standards.

Formerly he was Head of Assets & Acquisitions at Abu Dhabi Airports, leading the Global Airport development and M&A function for the UAE Government entity and its Sovereign Wealth Fund as well as the innovation, sustainability, and operations strategy for the UAE Airports portfolio.

He has advised global Airports, Governments and Airport Investors/Operators on both Greenfield and brownfield development projects, Operations Strategy, Commercial-Nonaeronautical revenue development, privatizations, public private partnerships in airports and associated infrastructure projects and concessions. Earlier on in his professional career he has had the privilege of holding several senior executive positions in Aviation with Dubai Government, Abu Dhabi Government, Citi, and British Airways.

Kashif graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York Tech in International Business & Economics and holds an MS-IB as well from New York, USA. His professional credentials include an advanced degree in Airport Planning and Finance, IAP – International Airports Professional and the ACI - Airport Executive Leadership program (AELP). He is also a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society (MRAeS)

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Dr Paul D. Williams- Professor of Atmospheric Science - University of Reading, UK

Dr Paul D. Williams is Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, UK. Educated in physics to PhD level at Oxford, he specialises in atmospheric turbulence, jet streams, and climate change, with a focus on weather-sensitive applications including aviation. He co-developed a clear-air turbulence forecasting algorithm that has made billions of passenger journeys smoother and safer. Dr. Williams has pioneered research into the effects of climate change on aircraft turbulence and flight routes. He has published two books and over 70 scientific papers in leading journals, including Nature. Dr. Williams is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society. He is a consultant to Guinness World Records on extreme atmospheric events. Dr. Williams is a frequent expert commentator for major broadcasting networks including the BBC, CNN, The Discovery Channel, and The Weather Channel, and he has been quoted on the front page of the New York Times.

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Dr. Bijan Vasigh- Professor of Economics and Finance- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA 

Dr. Bijan Vasigh is a professor of Economics and Finance in the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach Florida. He has focused his research, teaching, and consulting on the theory, modeling, and application of financial instruments in transport finance.

He is the author of North America’s leading aviation textbooks, including An Introduction to Air Transport Economics: From Theory to Application, Foundation of Airline Finance: Methodology and Practices, and Aircraft Finance: Strategies for Managing Capital Costs in a Turbulent Industry.

Dr. Vasigh’s work has led to formal collaborations with multiple domestic government agencies and foreign governments, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Learning Center, and NASA on a grant on “Determination of Statewide Economic Benefits of the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS).”

Dr. Vasigh has been interviewed and quoted by national and international news media, including The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NBC News, CBS News, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg Business, National Public Radio (NPR) Marketplace, Voice of Russia, El Pais (Spain), Rzeczpospolita (Poland), Trinidad Express, Cuba News, and The Guardian (United Kingdom), among others.