BRAIN FOOD: Maurice Flanagan - If I had to start again ..

BRAIN FOOD: Maurice Flanagan - If I had to start again .. - I planned to teach as back-stop to playing professional soccer, but national service had to come first. In the RAF I was given the choice of navigator or pilot: I chose navigator. A fantastic two

by MAURICE FLANAGAN CBE, who is 74 this month, is group managingdirector of Emirates airline
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I planned to teach as back-stop to playing professional soccer, but national service had to come first. In the RAF I was given the choice of navigator or pilot: I chose navigator. A fantastic two years followed, during which I fell down a hole in Canada and wrecked my knee. This was a shrewd career move, cancelling those earlier plans and leading to my entering the airline business by accident (in those days, few joined airlines on purpose).

I was a trainee with BOAC, which, in 1953, was said to stand for Bastards Overseas Avoiding Conscription. In 1970, I had a chance to swap careers when I won second prize in a TV play-writing competition, doubtless getting the best reviews because Leonard Rossiter was in my play. I stayed put.

BOAC was a top-notch long-haul airline, despite what the government said in 1973 to justify the daft merger with BEA, a top-notch short-haul airline.

While in BA senior management in 1978, another life-deciding/career-killing choice came up - remain, or accept a secondment to the Government of Dubai.

Dubai looked good for couple of years, I thought. Here I still am, 24 years later, with one of the most satisfying jobs in air transport. What counts in one's career? Perseverance, taking one's chances, luck, and having the right partner. Proposing to my wife was my smartest decision, and being accepted my best stroke of luck.

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