Blowing in the Wind

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

[Pictures: TFWA]

Alright, I am giving up my alternative job as a weather forecaster…

Having confidently told readers that “the weather’s likely to be warm all week” in my day 1 blog from Cannes, I was immediately proved wrong on Sunday as monsoon-like rain wreaked havoc with the sporting events in the morning. And by the evening a strong wind made for a challenging time at the Opening Cocktail, held outside at the Palm Beach. The nearby wind surfers were enjoying conditions and at times it felt as if delegates might be blown out there with them.

That’s beyond any event organiser’s control, of course, and all one can do is make the best of it. Plenty of TFWA visitors did just that, staying on until well in the evening. Let’s hope for better weather for the rest of the week – dare I mention that it’s projected to be 26 degrees today and sunny?

After a year out, I took the opportunity to catch up with many industry friends and colleagues.

It was good to see Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, a man of extraordinary vision and unrelenting determination. I noted to him that his company’s growth, at airline, airport and travel retail level, never appeared to slow. “You can never slow up,” he replied immediately – in just five words underlining exactly why the Qatar Airways story is one of the most remarkable in aviation history.

Al Baker (below second from left) was with Keith Hunter, Senior Vice President Qatar Duty Free (right); and Mohammed Al Bulooki, the new Chief Commercial Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports Company (second from right). Remember that name. I predict he is going to be a key influence in Middle East travel retail.

I first met Mohammed a few years back when he was ADAC’s Vice President, Airline Marketing and Aeronautical Revenue (before that he was Director of Marketing and Communications) and I recall, having interviewed him about route development, thinking this was an exceptionally articulate and capable individual.

That shouldn’t be any surprise. He is the nephew of none other than Akbar Al Baker. And that represents a fantastic aviation and travel retail gene pool.

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