It’s an exciting time for us in the Middle East. We’ve had a presence in the region for over 90 years and the aviation sector here is showing no signs of slowing down. Michel Saba our General Aviation Manager, Middle East takes you behind the scenes.
Tell us about your role?
I joined Air BP in March 2014 as a Commercial Airlines Account Manager and in April 2017 I was made General Aviation Manager, based out of the Dubai office. Business aviation is an exciting segment of the industry in this part of the world, particularly given the significant number of high net worth individuals in the region. My team works closely with the global Air BP network to provide our customers with fuel and services around the world.
What does a day in your working life look like?
Every day is different. But my job generally involves spending time with existing customers, preparing tenders, identifying new opportunities or working on bespoke fuelling solutions for key accounts. It’s also important that I spend time with my team, to help develop their skills and keep them up-to-date with projects that are happening around our network.
What are Air BP’s strengths in the Middle East and where are we present?
Air BP has played a major role in shaping the aviation industry in the Middle East for over 90 years. Our strengths are what sets us apart from the competition. We are reliable and committed to investing in infrastructure. Plus, we offer world class operating standards and strong customer relationships with airlines and airport operators.
One area we have focused our efforts on is improving operating standards at airports, for example through investing in training for operators.
Our team in Dubai has a rich cultural awareness, which has helped forge strong customer relationships built on trust and respect. We are present in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Iraq. We remain committed to this region and look forward to expanding our footprint here.
What are the biggest challenges we face in the region?
The intense competition is probably our biggest challenge. But being part of a global company means we have the ability and support to build relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Another challenge is the rapid growth of the major flag carriers in the region. Continual reviews and upgrades are needed to ensure their operations run smoothly from airport infrastructure and storage facilities to supply routes, manpower and equipment.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I am a big fan of travelling and exploring new places, especially new culinary experiences. I am also educating myself more and more about the world of wine. During my free time, I try to stay fit doing various activities such as running and cycling. I’m also mastering my skills at the 8-ball pool game, which goes well with a cold beer!