A former fighter pilot has taken the helm at Avinor, the state-owned company in charge of Norway’s airports and aviation network. Dag Falk-Petersen, 56, also spent time at troubled Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), so he’s faced turbulence before.
Falk-Petersen was appointed as new chief executive of Avinor, responsible for planning, development and operation of the Norwegian aviation network that includes 46 airports across the country.
Falk-Petersen was educated as a fighter pilot in the US and at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy, and spent 24 years at SAS, both as pilot and operations manager. He successfully applied for the position after a brief stint as managing director for CHC Helicopter Service, the largest helicopter operator in Norway, boasting 31 choppers in their fleet.
Falk-Petersen said he feels confident about tackling challenges at Avinor, known for being a turbulent workplace. “I have worked in the Norwegian Armed Forces, for airlines and with helicopters and I have extensive experience in operations,” he told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).
Falk-Petersen will replace current CEO Sverre Quale, who has been in charge since 2005. The top post has been up for grabs since Quale announced last September that he would be leaving Avinor for the job of managing director at Multiconsult, a Norwegian consulting and engineering firm.
Falk-Petersen will assume his new position during a period of more growth in Norwegian aviation, especially in international air traffic. It’s clear Falk-Petersen doesn’t take his new responsibilities lightly, telling DN, “If air traffic doesn’t work in Norway, the whole society stops functioning.”