Stellar Authority of Global Business Aviation

From exploring his interests in aviation to working for the challenging MENA region’s exposure to business aviation to now being at the forefront of the global business aviation industry, Alnaqbi has had an exciting journey during his three decades in the industry

Issue: 3 / 2020By Ayushee ChaudharyPhoto(s): By MEBAA
RESTLESS AND DRIVEN: Alnaqbi has been well-received globally for being very dedicated to the progress of the business aviation of the MENA region and bringing it close to international standards.

Having aviation in your blood is probably what it takes to be the leading business aviation advocate of the Middle East, who is now set to take the authority of this industry at a global level. What started with a passion for the industry and a dedicated will to enhance awareness about business aviation has taken Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi to now become the Chairman of IBAC (International Business Aviation Council). Alnaqbi, who is the Founding and Executive Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) had once said that he just loves the smell of jet fuel and that aviation is in his blood. This statement evidently reflects the deep-rooted love that Alnaqbi holds for aviation. It is this that has established him as a seasoned industry professionals with more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry and made him sit on the Board of several reputed international aviation companies.

Alnaqbi who is the Founding and Executive Chairman of The Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) had once said that he just loves the smell of jet fuel and believes aviation is in his blood. This statement evidently reflects the deeprooted enthusiasm that Alnaqbi holds for aviation.

Effective from January of this year, Alnaqbi was elected as the Chairman of the IBAC Governing Board. The IBAC Governing Board serves the diverse needs of business aviation across the globe and is involved in all ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) forums that affect business aviation, in addition to directing the council. In a meeting held at Las Vegas, the IBAC Board elected Alnaqbi for this position to be held for a period of three years. Alnaqbi will be the first Arab to be presented with this role within the international council. This is important evidence of the development of the business aviation of the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region. MENA, also known as MENAP, refers to the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, corresponding to the Greater Middle East. In the past, Alnaqbi has also served as the Vice-Chairman of the IBAC Board for three years, holding that position since 2017.

“I am honored for this trust by the IBAC Board in being elected as the Board Chairman,” Alnaqbi said. “This opportunity to guide the business aviation sector not only in the MENA region but also globally is a big responsibility and it is also a perfect synergy with my passion for the industry and previous achievements. No doubt we have a long way ahead of us and I look forward to driving the industry forward through IBAC in the next three years in this role.”

MEBAA called the appointment “a key milestone for Alnaqbi and a testament to the incredible success MEBAA has achieved since its founding.”

Alnaqbi needs no introduction, as his name is well known in the aviation industry. Through the various endeavors that he has embarked on, he has gained rich experience in the industry.

After graduating from USA, Alnaqbi’s journey started with the UAE’s (United Arab Emirates) Head of State flight operations as he became involved with VIP air transportation. He started from the grass-root level and sometimes needed to work 18 hours per day to build his knowledge and explore all possible aspects of accounting, finance, aircraft purchase, aircraft management, Logistics, IT, and other departments, eventually going on to become the Vice-President (VP) - Finance & Administration with the UAE’s Head of State flight. Being truly passionate about what he was doing, he spent 25 years in the same company rising to the second position in his company.

He is also the founder of Royal Jet, now one of the most award-winning VIP aviation operators in the world. Alnaqbi found Royal Jet in 2003 to make business aviation accessible to the wider client’s circle. During this period, he realised that there was inadequate knowledge and misconception on business aviation in the region which led him to start identifying stakeholders to establish MEBAA.

Alnaqbi will be the first Arab to be presented with this role within the international council. This is important evidence of the development of the business aviation of the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region.

He founded MEBAA in 2006, in Dubai and thus created an ideal platform for the industry leaders for discussing, sharing and decisionmaking as well as for drafting legislation and rules specific to business aviation along with providing representation of the business aviation community to the local aviation authorities. Alnaqbi has also been instrumental in driving the business aviation industry in the MENA region to new heights and hence has been duly lauded by the Governments in the region for his role and achievements in bringing about safety and efficiency.

With his vast experience spanning across aircraft purchase, sale, lease and VIP interior completion, Alnaqbi’s knowledge base makes him a valued contributor to the business aviation industry and he has very well been using that experience through MEBAA to represent the industry across the region as well as the world.

He is credited with encouraging members of the industry, specifically in the MENA region, towards a tremendous growth by facilitating effective communication among members and working to inculcate greater awareness about the role of business aviation among the region’s Governments.

In 2007, Alnaqbi got recognised to represent MEBAA in IBAC and in 2014, he was elected as the Treasurer of the Governing Board, IBAC for three years. He was eventually elected as the Vice Chairman of the Council in 2017. In 2015, Alnaqbi retired from the post of VP of finance and administration from Presidential Flight, to focus on MEBAA in an effort to unite the business aviation communities in 25 countries throughout the MENA region.

Alnaqbi and MEBAA have also successfully spread their influence for business aviation into humanitarian fields as well with support for the World Food Programme (WFP), a body under the United Nations wing, in the fight against hunger through the creation of a Fly & Feed donation programme. He is quite vocal in his support for this aspect of business aviation and believes that a lot needs to be done in order to educate and explain how business aviation is run. He also believes that not enough talking and explaining is being done about aspects like medical evacuation, the “fly and feed” initiative, access to remote areas by helicopters and other smaller aircraft bringing medical help, bring food, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which are all part of business aviation/general aviation and that people need to learn and understand that it is a part of our industry.

Alnaqbi has always stressed the need for more and appropriate education about the industry which also means explaining the engagement of the industry and how business aviation contributes to the economies of countries by ways of creating jobs and opening markets.

Alnaqbi has been well-received globally for being very dedicated to the progress of the business aviation of the MENA region and bringing it close to international standards. He is a regular speaker at various business aviation forums and conferences as well and is a recognised authority around the world, all of which add value to his recent entitlement.

As part of growth strategy, MEBAA constantly seeks to implement operational safety and efficiency by providing best in-practice training, lectures, and conferences, establishing codes of conduct and providing industry data under Alnaqbi. MEBAA now represents more than 270 companies within the MENA region and supplies a number of products and services to its members, including MEBAA Insurance, and one-stop shop. In addition to various networking events, MEBAA also hosts the MEBAA Show, which ranks as one of the largest business aviation shows in the world.

Another focus of MEBAA has been to conduct various activities to enhance the knowledge base of young aviation enthusiasts as Alnaqbi believes that more and better attempts need to be made to attract future generations of aviation professionals. He expressed how he feels there is a lack of young professionals and how correct training and information will pave the way and let passion for aviation, the experience and knowledge get transferred to the future aviators in the industry.

The main goal of MEBAA according to Alnaqbi is to contribute through their everyday work in the acceptance of business aviation throughout MENA region, to help companies and aviation authorities in working together to enhance safety and efficiency. Alnaqbi strongly believes that professionals need to come together to promote the industry and grow together to make all step towards future development.

These beliefs showcase the devotion that is implanted within Alnaqbi and this commitment is what has placed him in the present position where he has the authority to ensure all efforts are efficiently made in order to expand business aviation. Hence his choice for the position becomes perfectly fit in driving both the IBAC (at the global level) and MEBAA (at the MENA region) with his visionary expertise to bring about allround success for the business aviation industry.