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Blog: Three CEOs in a cockpit

By Ayesha Durgahee, CNN
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Wed July 11, 2012
  • CNN's Ayesha Durgahee has been at the Farnborough Airshow this week
  • After finishing an interview she sneaks into the Qatar 787 cockpit to find some VIPs
  • Durgahee recalls stumbling upon a rare sight -- 3 CEOs in a cockpit

Follow CNN's coverage of the Farnborough airshow through the week.

Farnborough, England (CNN) -- There's no better feeling when you're showing off to your friends. Sharing with them something you are proud and excited about.

After giving journalists a tour pointing out features around the cabin of his new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al Baker became excited.

He said goodbye to me and hello to Willie Walsh.

Akbar attentively showed him every nook and cranny of the aircraft, crouching down to recline the new business class seat that Willie was in, showing him the new touch screen control panels and glossy fold away trays.

International airshow set to take off
Virgin Boss Richard Branson announces on Wednesday that SpaceShipTwo will blast off with its first space tourists in 2013. Virgin Boss Richard Branson announces on Wednesday that SpaceShipTwo will blast off with its first space tourists in 2013.
SpaceShipTwo will blast off in 2013
Farnborough 2012 takes off Farnborough 2012 takes off

As we plugged in the microphone to ask Willie one question about what he thought of the plane, they headed to the front. After waiting for a few minutes, I crept forward to have a quick look what was going on. The cockpit was packed.

Suddenly I heard "Ayesha!!" the CEO of Gulf Air Samer Majali's head emerged from the cockpit.

"Wait, wait!! Three CEOs in the cockpit?!!! This never happens!! I said.

There they were - Samer in the Captain's seat, Willie in the First Officer's seat and Akbar in the jump seat.

"Three CEOs in the cockpit conspiring what to do in the aviation industry in the next 12 months" joked Akbar, before I crawled in with a microphone.

Infographic: State of global aviation in numbers

Qatar Airways has 60 Dreamliners on order and will hopefully get five delivered this year, followed by Etihad with an order of 41 and Gulf Air with 24.
Willie said that he was very envious of Akbar receiving his 787s before him and how the aircraft's fuel efficiency will help the industry in such a difficult economic climate, which was reflected by the subdued mood at this year's Farnborough.

They were great sports for an impromptu interview. It felt like chatting to three guys who were old friends, having a laugh which was a rare informal side to see for men in their positions.

I forgot I was talking to CEOs - they were just three men in a cockpit.

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