Emirates President Tim Clark.
Daniel Munoz | Reuters
Emirates Airline President Tim Clark will retire in June 2020, the company revealed Tuesday in an internal memo.
The chief of the world’s largest A380 operator — and top-five largest airline in terms of passenger and freight ton kilometers flown — will step down after 17 years at its helm and 35 years at the company, an Emirates spokesperson confirmed in an email.
The British aviation executive was part of the UAE government-owned airline’s founding team in 1985 and will retain a role as an advisor, Reuters reported.
Under Clark’s tenure, Emirates expanded its international footprint and established itself as one of the world’s largest carriers. The 70-year-old was awarded a knighthood in 2014 for his service to the aviation industry and British prosperity.
Clark also served as managing director of SriLankan Airlines until 2008, and before that worked for Gulf Air and Caledonian Airways.
Clark in October had revealed lofty plans to expand the Emirates fleet by 30% by the end of 2025. In November he told reporters that the Dubai-based airline would recommence its expansion in the early 2020s following its current period of consolidation. Whether these plans will remain on track isn’t clear.
As of October, Emirates had a fleet of 270 aircraft, including 12 freight. In addition to its order of 30 Boeing jets at the Dubai Air Show in November, the airline announced an order of 50 Airbus A350-900 jets at a value of $16 billion at list prices.
Emirates is the No. 1 buyer of Airbus’ iconic A380, the world’s largest airliner, with 123 of the planes in its fleet. But its cutback on orders of the jumbo jet early this year led the French manufacturer to announce it would scrap its production, marking the model’s death knell and signaling what many industry analysts called “the end of an era.” The airline still expects to fly its A380s for years to come, its executives have said.