Club News

Paul Griffiths at Aviation Club lunch on 19 September 2019

The Aviation Club UK

Guests at the September Aviation Club lunch last week were treated to an usually forthright and detailed overview of the industry by Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths. In addition to his views on airport capacity (see  BTNews story here), he had much to say on other areas.

Find below an edited version of his remarks, courtesy of BTNews:

“Aviation touches hearts and minds, ignites passionate debate and is a key form of personal mobility – we are after all an island, and about to become more of one it would seem.

Air transport is key to our economic success and social progression. A 2018 WTTC study showed travel and tourism comprises 11% of the UK’s economy or about £231bn and employs more than 4.2m people. With the potential impact of Brexit, deal or no deal, this contribution could be even more vital.

The last time I was here at the Club in 2013, I spoke of the need for a radical change in thinking in the UK by politicians, the crippling effects of taxation and the need for a solution to airport capacity issues.

Sadly, a lot of the demands for change go unanswered today. However, today I want to continue to discuss the need for more forward-thinking about aviation and its needs for the 21st century and that’s not just about planes but trains and automobiles too.

With planes, there has been clarification of the future type of aircraft that will dominate – highly-efficient, twin-engine, longer-range, smaller aircraft rather than larger multi-engined aircraft.

The way we use our time means that the pursuit of speed has given way to the pursuit of economy and sustainability.  The A380 is the last of the line rather than the first of the next, conceived when two-engine aircraft weren’t allowed to fly transoceanic by the most direct route. Now nobody bats an eyelid to count the engines on the aircraft.

Another massive change is the sensitivity around the ecological impact of the industry and its growth. Changing attitudes towards personal carbon footprint are moving faster than the technological advancement to mitigate the effect of emissions.  Irrespective of the debate about the human impact on climate change, it must be intuitively right for us to manage our curation of the planet. Sustainability is therefore a major challenge for the industry.

The industry has worked to address the concerns through introduction of lighter materials in aircraft, airspace optimization, research into and adoption of biofuels with up to 60% of manufacturers’ R&D budgets now spent on finding alternative sources of propulsion”.

Expanding on the airport capacity debate, Griffiths said he believed the industry had to go back to understanding what an airport is – an effective interface between ground and air. “There should not be more and more land take to build expensive and service-hostile infrastructure to concentrate more and more people into single spaces for the convenience of everyone except the end customer”.

“Rather”, he said, “The industry must examine ways to realise fully the considerable benefits of aviation while accelerating measures to mitigate the environmental impact. The challenge was how to cope with that in a sustainable way and this was now both an urgent and important requirement”.

He went on: “If we can solve the many problems of sustainable growth, then the benefits are enormous – after all aviation supports 63m jobs, nearly $3trn of global GDP, is a catalyst to create better conversations and enables cultures to reach a better level of understanding and respect”.

“The focus of approach to airport design and development simply must change. It shouldn’t be about how we create more capacity at pinch points but more about how we can use the latent capacity in the entire transport ecosystem and apply this on a global basis.

“The way forward for airports is utterly interwoven with the way forward for ground transportation and other methods of personal mobility where sustainability will be driven by advancements in technology, their acceptance by society and joined-up thinking to ensure cost effective and coordinated development.”

Future airports will become intermodal hubs, Griffiths went on, connecting aviation with high-speed ground-based transport systems such as autonomous cars, trains, hyperloop, SkyTran, Air Taxis, UMVs and “others which we cannot even imagine today”.

He continued: “While that may be a feasible and sustainable way forward, the intermediary steps required to get there are fraught with risks associated with the age-old problems”.

“These are – can we get politicians to think beyond their four-year terms to develop a long-term intermodal strategy, can we find funding mechanisms that don’t punish consumers and can we get governments to cooperate internationally to create incentives for technological developments and R&D and the global standards and regulatory framework needed to unlock the value of a fully-integrated intermodal transportation system?”

“Currently, although the inherent challenges are plain to see, the leadership of some of the world’s most influential economies is taking us backwards instead of forwards – but it’s time that we start the discussion so that incremental improvements and developments are considered in the broader context.”

“From an airport standpoint, that means before taking decisions to expand both physical and environmental footprint, we examine and exhaust the opportunities to unlock the latent capacity that is hostage to our legacy processes

“And if and as we do develop new infrastructure, we need to ensure it is done around these core principles: Sustainable, affordable, efficient, intermodal and customer-centric.”

Griffiths said if these principles were followed, “we may be able to shape the growth of the industry for decades to come and ignite the conversations that are needed within and across industry and governments for a more sustainable way forward.”

Griffiths To Address Aviation Club UK – article from BT News

The life and times of one of the world’s aviation hotspots are on the agenda at the Aviation Club lunch on Thursday 19 September at the Institute of Directors in London, when guest speaker will be Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths.

Paul Griffiths.

With an unusual side-line as a vice-president and former chairman of the board of trustees of the Royal College of Organists, he has spent more than 40 years in the travel and aviation industry.

He joined Dubai Airports as its first CEO in October 2007 with responsibility for the operation and development of Dubai International and latterly the country’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC).

This is destined on completion to become the world’s largest facility of its kind, with an ultimate capacity of more than 160m passengers and 12m tonnes of cargo a year.

Before moving to Dubai, Griffiths was managing director of Gatwick, having joined the then owner, the British Airports Authority (BAA), in 2004.

Before that, he spent 14 years with the Virgin Group, working closely with Sir Richard Branson as a board director at the group’s travel arm, embracing the commercial activities of Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Trains.

Official Charity ORBIS UK – 2018 Annual Report

The Aviation Club UK

Orbis are delighted to be able to share their 2018 Annual Report which has just been published. The report details income and expenditure in 2018, and highlights some of our achievements over the past year.


This year, Orbis has supported 25 projects in 11 countries, expanding their global reach further than ever before. As well as continuing with flagship programmes in Ethiopia and India Orbis worked for the first time in a humanitarian context, supporting the displaced Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar.  They also continued our development of Cybersight with the aim of using technology to enhance and expand our training capabilities.


It is because of the generous support from our donors that they continue to be able to bring positive change to the lives of people in some of the poorest communities in the world, by restoring and protecting their sight. Please see page 24 in the report for a direct ‘thank you’ to you to Aviation Club members, who are key corporate supporters.


In 2019 Orbis will continue to expand their global reach, working for the first time in all areas of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia, one of the most rural and marginalised parts of the country where much of their trachoma work is focused.  They are also continuing to expand the school screening programmes in Nepal and India and will continue the developing work in Cox’s Bazar. 


A big thanks to all our members for their continued support of the Orbis work and all that it makes possible.

Annual Reception 2019

The Aviation Club UK

This year’s annual reception was held at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in the City of London on Wednesday 10 July 2019.  The beautiful venue, tucked away at London Wall, gifted a new dynamic to the event with a wonderful outdoor terrace and bright Grand Hall.

Some 130 guests, drawn from membership, Club supporters and the Young Aviation Professionals programme gathered for the Reception and a lively and informative speech from Captain Mike Bannister, UK’s Chief Concorde Pilot.  Mike’s presentation was enjoyed by all as he recounted his career progression and exclusive Concorde experiences.  Mike is a wonderfully engaging speaker and the time he had just didn’t seem sufficient.  We were extremely fortunate he was able to join us to mark the 50th Anniversary of Concorde.

After the speeches the Reception resumed with the last guests departing at 9pm.

Our thanks go to the supporters of the evening – Maples Group and Hayward and Green Aviation Ltd, without whom the evening would not have been possible.

Hi Flying Club Lunch on 12 June 2019

The Aviation Club UK

President Paulo Mirpuri was the guest speaker for the Aviation Club UK, in London on 12 June 2019 and delivered a speech on the Hi Fly success history and innovative sustainability initiatives it is bringing to the aviation industry, in partnership with the Mirpuri Foundation.

Paulo Mirpuri highlighted Hi Fly’s  long and respected track record of supporting sustainability initiatives, always hand in hand with its principal sustainability partner The Mirpuri Foundation.

For its part, Hi Fly airlines has already committed to flying its own flights free of single-use plastic items by the end of this year (2019). And it made history last year with a series of plastic free passenger test flights over Christmas in 2018. Also all Hi Fly own flights will be carbon neutral before the end of 2021.

Hi Fly also partnered with the Mirpuri Foundation and IATA recently to host the world’s first Cabin Waste Forum. An event that bought together the world’s most prestigious airlines, airports, and industry regulators to discuss best practices and new ideas for minimising the amount of plastic and cabin waste created by airlines each year.

Committee Elections 2019


Following the annual general meeting of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom, the largest alliance of its kind in the world, chairman Karl Brünjes was able to confirm speakers until the end of the year and announce committee membership.

The event, held at the club’s London home, the Institute of Directors in London’s Pall Mall, coincided with guest speaker JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes confirming the airline plans to start transatlantic services to London in 2021 (see news item).

Speakers for the balance of 2019 are as follows:

·       Wednesday 12 June – Paulo Mirpuri, CEO Hi fly
·       Thursday 19 September – Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports
·       Thursday 7 November – Oscar Munoz, CEO United Airlines
·       Thursday 5 December – Warren East, CEO Rolls-Royce plc

The annual reception takes place at 18:30 on Thursday 11 July.

2019 – 2020 Committee (New members shown thus *)

Karl Brunjes (Chairperson) – RPK Capital

Donna Ager – Maples & Calder

Michael Blunt (re-elected for second term and Vice Chairperson) – oneworld)

Irena Badelska – Amedeo *

Nick Fadugba – African Aviation Services Ltd

Arnaud Fiscel – Bank of China

Malcolm Ginsberg – Business Travel News *

Sylvain Gloux – CargoLogic Management

Jeremy Green – Hayward & Green Aviation

Jane Johnston – NATS

James McCarthy – Dynam Aviation

Nigel Milton – Heathrow Airport

Philip Tozer-Pennington – Airline Economics *

Clive Richardson – Access Media & Events *

Philip Skinner – AMS Aircraft Services

Jane Thompson – ICF *

Tony Whitty (Treasurer) – Air Partner

The Chairman thanked those members departing the Committee, with a special note of thanks to John Strickland, who came to the end of a two year term after heading up the Speaker Working Group and Victoria Hartley, Club Treasurer for the past four years.

Tony Whitty will assume the role of Treasurer and Michael Blunt will remain Vice Chairperson.

JetBlue Confirms Plans to Fly JFK to London, With First Stop Aviation Club …

The Aviation Club UK

Robin Hayes and members of the JetBlue team landed at the Aviation Club lunch on Thursday 11 April 2019 just hours after confirming their intent to launch a service across the Atlantic to London in 2021.

The New York-based carrier are yet to announce which airport they plan to route into but are currently evaluating multiple options in London for its service and are excited by their future plans.

A traditional low cost carrier will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2020.  Currently operating 1050 flights a day with over 23,000 crew members JetBlue hold strong to the original five values that formed the organisation – Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion and Fun.  Despite being price conscious they don’t hold back on service or content.  All flights still serve complimentary drinks and snacks, were the first in the world to introduce free wifi to passengers and offer lay-flat beds on their very favourably priced MINT service, which was voted ‘Best Business Class in North America’ for the past two years.

Ahead of Jet Blue committing to serve London, the airline has been vocal about the challenges faced by smaller airlines.  JetBlue CEO, Robin Hayes is strong in his opinion that regulators need to exercise more oversight of US Legacy airlines and their international Joint Ventures, which result in the Joint Ventures controlling a significant number of slots and driving up the price of air fares.  He is adamant that JetBlue can reduce the prices on certain routes in business class offering a better service and product offering on these overpriced or routes.

British born Robin Hayes was relaxed at the Club lunch and engaged with a number of Club members and guests before departing.

CLICK HERE for report from BT News

Young Aviation Professionals event on 20 March

The Aviation Club UK

The most recent YAP networking session was held on Thursday 20 March 2019, hosted by DLA Piper in their stunning 7th floor hospitality suite overlooking the City of London.  More than 80 young professionals attended this event, which included the opportunity to network at an informal drinks reception and a 30 minute panel discussion mediated by Richard Skipper of DLA Piper.

The panel, comprising Club Chairman Karl Brunjes and Committee members Sylvain Gloux and Tony Whitty expressed their personal views on ‘Airline Bankruptcies and Consolidations’ and stimulated a great deal of interest amongst the audience. 

The Aviation Club UK’s YAP events are open to both members and non-members of the Aviation Club UK and are aimed at young aviation professionals aged between 20 and 35 years of age to help them broaden their industry connections.  Our next YAP event will be held on 12 June 2019.  Further details will be posted in the event section of the website in due course.  You can also join the YAP linked in group at

Clear Skies for easyJet

The Aviation Club UK

Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet addressed 200 attendees at the Aviation Club lunch on 20 March 2019.  During his speech, which referenced the easyJet withdrawal from the Alitalia deal, he expressed his support for the tightening of regulation around airport alcohol sales, which he strongly believes to have a direct correlation to disruptive passengers.  The airline will operate a zero tolerance policy to disruptive passengers and fully support their staff who have to make the decision as to whether to allow passengers to fly or not.  easyJet, the 8th largest airline in the world and 2nd largest in Europe, believe that high customer service levels and communication are key to their success.  ‘Better engagement with customers and stronger boarding policies will reduce disruptive passengers.’ Lundgren told the audience.

Lundgren’s speech stimulated a number of interesting questions from a keen audience who enjoyed an interesting and topical presentation.

CLICK HERE for article from Birmingham Mail

CLICK HERE for article from

CLICK HERE for article from Aviation Week

CLICK HERE for article from BTN