French President Jacques Chirac has honoured HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates Group Chairman, with France’s highest award.
French Transport and Tourism Minister, His Excellency Gilles de Robien, presented Sheikh Ahmed with the “Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur”—the Legion of Honour—on behalf of President Chirac during the Dubai Air Show.
Sheikh Ahmed received the award at a ceremony organised by the French ministry in Dubai attended by 250 leading French officials and businessmen, including HE Francois Gouyette, French Ambassador, and Robert Jongeryck, Consul General in Dubai, during the ongoing 8th International Aerospace Exhibition.
In attendance from Emirates were Maurice Flanagan, Vice Chairman and Group President, Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, and Tony Tayeh, Senior Vice President Planning, International and Industry Affairs.
Minister de Robien said: “You have played a big role in making Emirates a model company in and beyond the Middle East. The striking fact about its growth in the past 15 years is that it has always achieved its objectives, in terms of passengers, financial and operational performance and profits.
“Emirates today is one of the world’s most competitive, dynamic, strong and profitable companies, thanks in large measure to your leadership.”
He added: “Under your management, Emirates has become one of Airbus’ oldest and most important customers, and like our British, German and Spanish partners, we are pleased about this.”
M. de Robien also expressed appreciation for Sheikh Ahmed’s special qualities of simplicity, receptiveness, and cordiality, ‘which on top of his professionalism explain the respect he enjoys in the field of aerospace’.
He went on to commend Sheikh Ahmed, in his capacity as President of the Department of Civil Aviation, for his role in the growth of the Air Show, and in Dubai’s impressive development as an airport hub.
The French Minister said: “Your efforts to promote tourism are shown by the growing number of French businessman and tourists visiting Dubai each winter to enjoy its holiday attractions and sunny weather.
“Your role, both in the development of Dubai and in strengthening ties between France and the UAE, and Dubai in particular, is an example to the world.”
Thanking M. de Robien, Sheikh Ahmed said the UAE’s success could not have been achieved without the support of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, its President, and called the medal “an accolade both for him and for everyone working at Emirates.”