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

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.

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