Meet the manager: Paul James, DC Aviation Al-Futtaim


The director of aircraft management at DC Aviation Al-Futtaim discusses how digital optimization is changing the industry and his company’s strategy.

What was your career path to your current role?

I started my aviation career in charter sales and then moved on to FBO and hangar sales. This has been hugely beneficial in my current role as director of aircraft management. It has given me a greater understanding of the business as well as increased my exposure and network within the industry.

How have you been dealing with Covid-19? 

While Covid-19 has been challenging for businesses around the world, private aviation was able to recover much faster than other industries. We have seen all areas of the business record a sharp increase in sales recently.

What are the best parts of your job?

No two days are the same. Every day brings with it different challenges to keep you on your toes. Also, I cannot think of any other industry that gives you exposure to the top 1% of society. You have to be a people person and every day you are learning new things.

Can you describe a typical day? 

A typical day starts with a morning operations meeting to get an update on the managed fleet. Then I will meet with the charter sales team for an update on the charter fleet and any pending issues.
Following on from this, I will go for a quick drive around the airport to get an idea of the activity at the airport and how the FBO compares to our competitors. During the afternoon I tend to focus on aircraft management and send out proposals and conduct facility tours for any potential new clients. I also take this opportunity to address any issues and speak with aircraft owners and representatives.

How do you stand out from your competitors?

DC Aviation Al-Futtaim is a full aviation turnkey service provider. We are one of two companies at
Al Maktoum International Airport to have our own FBO, hangar and provide a management, maintenance and hangar parking service for our clients.

With the company being a joint venture in UAE, we have brought together one of the most respected names in aviation and partnered it with one of the biggest companies in UAE, the Al Futtaim Group. You could say it’s German know-how meets Arabic hospitality.

What is the biggest trend currently impacting the business aviation sector?

The current trend in business aviation is digital optimization. As an industry, we have been behind in this area and there is huge potential for change and growth. With technologies such as blockchain, smart contracts, artificial intelligence and digital currency, we are seeing new entrants in the market offering service solutions to age-old problems such as real-time payment, ground handling efficiency, fuel price comparison and charter analysis. This is now a real talking point in the industry.

What does the future hold for DC Aviation Al-Futtaim?

The short-term goal is to increase our maintenance capability. We have already begun by investing in additional personnel and tooling. The long-term goal is to provide heavy maintenance.

On the aircraft management side the goal is to double our fleet in the coming years. On the charter side I would like to see a long-range aircraft added to the charter fleet. This will be my goal in the coming months.

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About Author


Paige is an experienced journalist and editor who started her career covering the building and architecture sector. After several years writing and editing online and print articles for leading journals in this sector, she is bringing her thorough approach to technical content to covering aerospace engineering. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and is always planning her next trip

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