A Safi Airways aircraft on the tarmac. The airline stopped Kabul- Frankfurt services after a EU ban on Afghan-registered carriers. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: After suspending its Frankfurt-Kabul route on January 10 following an EU ban, Dubai-based Safi Airways announced a change in management yesterday.

Led by Executive Director Hamid Safi, the new appointments include Michael McTighe from the UK as Chief Operating Officer, John Roijen from the Netherlands as Chief Financial Officer, and Jordanian Mohammad Al Hayek as Deputy Chief Operating Officer.

The EU ban preventing the entry of Afghan registered aircraft into its airspace was "particularly frustrating for Safi Airways because the ban has been evoked as a result of the Afghan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation," the company said.

"It is totally outside the control of the airline, which is fully ICAO compliant and widely regarded as the best airline in Afghanistan," it said in an earlier statement.

New COO McTighe added: "The EU's ban on Afghan airlines flying to Europe has required that we effectively need to relaunch the airline.

"We face a couple of months of turbulence before we emerge into clear air but we are very confident that our new strategic plan will soon bear fruit. Safi Airways has a great future ahead."

McTighe is an experienced industry professional who specialises in setting up new airlines and undertaking strategic reviews for airlines in order to return them to profitability. His work has spanned the UK, Iceland, Germany, Slovakia, Nigeria, and now the UAE and Afghanistan and he has worked on Ryanair, Britannia Airways GmbH, Air Atlanta Europe, and Arik Air Nigeria.

Track record

CFO Roijen has a distinguished track record in airlines and manufacturing.

He has been a senior financial executive for the last 15 years in various airline related industries, including CFO at Virgin Nigeria and Arik Air.

Ghulam Hazrat Safi, the airline's founder and chairman, said: "This team has a wealth of aviation experience and a proven track record of success throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

"I have every confidence they will continue to build on Safi's reputation for uncompromising safety and professionalism while rolling out our expansion plans."