Meet the Regional Board: Sharjah Airport Authority
- 30 Sep 2020
H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa has nearly two decades of experience in Airport Management. H.E. Al Midfa joined Sharjah Airport in 1996 and has held many managerial posts in the airport and was appointed Chairman of Sharjah Airport in 2014. In addition to his role as the Second Vice President of the Regional Board, H.E. Al Midfa is also the Chair of the Panel of Judges of the Young Executive Award 2021.
What is your advice to young people in the aviation business?
For young people in the aviation business, or in fact those wishing to pursue a career in the aviation industry, I would say you are part of a brilliant growing industry and you are now working through one of the most challenging times we have ever faced. You will learn a lot from this experience so use it to grow and develop your mind, and skill sets that will stand you in good stead through the challenges of life. It would be useful to understand the importance of data digitalisation and how this is shaping and transforming the airline industry and the wider aviation ecosystem.
What have you had to do differently in terms of leading your team during the pandemic?
To lead the team through the pandemic, we had to think fast and on our feet. As scientific research learned more about COVID-19 and government guidelines changed constantly, we had to react quickly in order to protect the health & safety of our employees and passengers. This called for instant adaptation and a culture shift in terms of the mind set to ensure safety, efficiencies, business continuity and overall compliance.
What are you most proud of at your airport?
First and foremost, I am extremely proud of the agility of the team working at Sharjah Airport who worked round the clock to ensure the safety of staff and passengers and complied fully with all new safety measures and directions. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, we have successfully achieved many accolades in 2020 including the Green Airport Silver Recognition award this year for our quality water management activities and we became the first carbon-neutral airport in GCC having achieved the Level 3+ Neutrality standards of the ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Programme.
Operationally, we have worked around the various challenges that have come our way, be it regulatory, operational constraints and otherwise, to always keep safety our priority and at the same time providing the best of services to our clients. Where other industries and organisations have been halted by the pandemic, we have stood firm and resolute, prepared ourselves in every aspect and continued to grow stronger, and that is something we can all be proud of.
To lead the team through the pandemic, we had to think fast and on our feet.
Has there been a silver lining arising from this pandemic crisis and if so, what?
Our efficient response and handling of operations during the pandemic has proven we are ready and operationally capable to deal with many eventualities including COVID-19. We have broadened our technological capabilities and will continue to build contingency plans, investing in digital infrastructure to ensure we remain fully prepared for future eventualities.
Now that we are coming through to the other side of the pandemic, it is important to consolidate our learnings to identify areas of future opportunity and risk, thus further strengthening our capabilities. I think we must remember this as a time where community, business, and government joined forces and supported each other through a time of great crisis