In partnership with Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, the Aerospace and Aviation Alumni Awards recognise the exceptional achievements of our aerospace and aviation alumni while showcasing the global impact of Cranfield University.

Meet the 2021 Distinguished Aerospace Alumni Award Winner

Chris Gear (MSc Aircraft Design 1984)

Project Director, FlyZero for the ATI

Chris Gear

Chris has a wealth of experience in the aerospace industry, having led major strategic projects, including in the areas of disruptive and novel technologies. He was Chief Technology Officer for GKN Aerospace from 2014 to 2019 and ran the Global Technology Department for the engineering group. Prior to that, as Vice President & Chief Engineer of GKN Aerospace, Chris led the engineering and technology team on several major projects A350 Rear Spar, A400M Front & Rear Spar and numerous composite airframe components.

Chris began his career as a Graduate Apprentice with Dowty Group Services, before taking on engineering and management roles within the industry. His experience covers many facets of the FlyZero programme - from design and research, to manufacturing process development, operational costs, product strategies and airworthiness. He graduated from Cranfield Institute of Technology with an MSc in Aircraft Design in 1984 and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Visiting Professor for Bath University with the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Meet the 2021 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates Winner

Dr Siti Juita Mastura Binti Mohd Saleh (PhD Aerospace Vehicle Design 2016)

Senior Lecturer, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia

Dr Siti Juita Mastura Binti Mohd Saleh

In a complex-ridden aerospace industry dominated by men, Dr Siti Juita Mastura Mohd Saleh is one of the women who is at the forefront of its development. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), a tenured position held since she was awarded a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Cranfield University in 2016.

Siti was one of the first female Malaysian's to be certified with a professional drone pilot license, RePL, by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia, and her illustrious career with drones began with the development of an Autonomous Parcel Drone for Pos Malaysia. Reflecting on the opportunities that come with the advancement of drone technology, Siti's interest branched towards the development of autonomous agricultural drones, and the experience and background she gained in Aircraft Structure during her PhD led to her appointment as the Head of Structure Unit for Malaysia’s biggest Cargo Drone Project.

Siti is involved as a lead consultant in many projects at national level, such as supporting the National TVET Agenda for Aerospace and Automotive Industries with the Ministry of Human Resources of Malaysia. Her understanding of the importance of education and human capital development has also led to Siti supporting the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia in promoting safety management in the Aerospace Industry. In addition, as a co-founder of the UTHM spin-off company known as Avitex Solution, she has conducted numerous training programmes for government agencies and industries on drone operation safety.

Siti is passionate about promoting equality in experiencing the technology, which has led to her running community engagement programmes in conjunction with Youth With Disabilities and Aborigines.

Meet the 2021 Distinguished Aviation Alumni Award Winner

Liz Savage (MSc Air Transport Management 1995)

Non-Executive Director

Liz SavageLiz continues to enjoy a fascinating & fulfilling career in aviation, travel & tourism, with 25-years’ experience in senior executive and non-executive Director roles in the industry.

After graduating as an aeronautical engineer (Bristol Uni), Liz complemented her technical studies with a Masters in Air Transport Management at Cranfield, setting her path into commercial aviation.

After a first role in airfield operations at Manchester Airport, Liz joined low cost airline easyJet in its start up phase and became Business Development Director at the age of 28. In its first decade of operations, easyJet changed the face of air travel in Europe.

“I didn’t realise it at the time, but we were growing so fast, I experienced more in those ten years at easyJet than many people do in a whole career!”

Liz then led significant business change at Monarch Travel Group as Managing Director of the travel company’s direct to consumer airline, modernising the business model to meet a changing market. In 2008, Liz’s leadership was recognised, being voted British Travel Industry Young Manager of the Year and as one of the Sunday Times 35 Business Women Under 35.

An exciting opportunity led Liz to relocate with her partner to Australia to become Chief Commercial Officer of Virgin Blue, during its early-stage transformation from low-cost carrier to a more premium Virgin Australia.  Liz held accountability for the Group’s $3.5bn global revenue and customer-facing functions including sales, marketing, pricing, loyalty scheme and guest contact centres.

Liz continues to enjoy life in Australia and has transitioned to being a full time Non-Executive Director, broadening her work to include businesses in tourism & hospitality, whilst retaining aviation and travel at the core of her portfolio.

“I’m particularly passionate about purpose-led leadership, customer centricity and tackling the sustainability challenges the industry faces”.

Liz’s current directorships include Auckland Airport (NZ), North Queensland Airports and Intrepid Travel. She has previously been a director of Mantra Hotels, Swissport ANZ, Brisbane Marketing and Triathlon Australia. She is currently Chair of the Industry panel, guiding the Queensland Government’s Covid-19 Tourism Recovery Plan.

“My studies at Cranfield were instrumental as a launchpad for a dynamic, challenging & stimulating career in aviation that I continue to enjoy. I’m honored to be receiving this award amongst such high achieving peers in an industry which is so very vital - thank you!”.


Meet the 2021 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aviation Graduates Winner

Dr Camille Burban (MSc Human Factors and Safety Assessments in Aeronautics 2012, PhD Transport Systems 2016

Aviation Safety Manager, TUI Airways

Dr Camille Burban

Camille started her Aviation journey with a Mechatronics Engineering degree in Valenciennes, France, before joining Cranfield in 2011 where she completed her MSc in Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aviation and, following this, her PhD focused on Human Factors in Air Accident Investigation.

Her research supported the development of the human factors capability at the UK AAIB. Her passion for aviation safety and human factors was later pursued at Clockwork Research, a consultancy specialising in fatigue management based in London. She then stepped into an Operational Safety Officer role at Eastern Airways, before Joining Flybe in 2019 as Safety Manager.
Since May 2020, Cam is the Aviation Safety Manager at TUI Airways, based in Luton. Her achievements to date include, alongside the teams at TUI, securing the return to service of the 737 MAX in the UK and ensuring a safe restart to international air travel following the COVID 19-crisis.

Camille’s expertise helps bridge the gap between academia and industry by translating and applying tools from the research world into an airline environment. Since she left Cranfield, Cam has continued to give guest lectures and support students for both MSc and professional short courses in the Centre for Safety and Accident Investigation and the Centre for Air Transport Management at Cranfield University.

Meet the 2020 Distinguished Aerospace Alumni Award Winner

Dr Sarah Qureshi (PhD Aerospace 2016)

CEO & Co-founder Aero Engine Craft Private Limited
Visiting Academic, Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University

Dr Sarah QureshiDr Sarah Qureshi is commercialising her PhD research on Contrail-free Aero-engines as the CEO and co-founder of Aero Engine Craft (Private) Limited. She is also a Visiting Academic at the Centre for Propulsion Engineering at Cranfield University, working with the research group on “pro-environment jet engines”.

Sarah obtained a PhD degree in Aerospace Propulsion under the supervision of Professor Pericles Pilidis on a thesis entitled “Contrail-free Aero-engines” whereby she researched the development of an environment-friendly aero-engine, which was derived from a novel patented technology. During her initial PhD research, Sarah assisted the inventor with patenting the contrail-free aero-engine. The invention has been granted two international patents and has tremendous potential in bringing about an environmental revolution in the context of aviation.

Dr Sarah Qureshi, along with the inventor of the technology, Mr. Masood Latif Qureshi, has now set up Aero Engine Craft (Private) Limited, as Pakistan’s first commercial aero- engine R&D company to convert this patented technology into a full-scale application for the global aviation industry. Prior to this, Sarah completed her MRes degree in Aerospace Dynamics at Cranfield University with Dr James Whidborne. Her research involved the design of an autopilot for unmanned aircraft (UAVs) in formation flying for mid-air refuelling.

She has recently co-invented and filed a patent for a supersonic commercial aircraft engine. Sarah is a licensed pilot and learned acrobatic flying with flight instructor Richard Rogers while at Cranfield. Prior to her postgraduate studies at Cranfield, Sarah graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Pakistan and gained work experience in the local industry. 

You can also watch a video introducing Sarah below:

Meet the 2020 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates Winner

Marcos Acín González (MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design 2014)

Stress Analysis Expert, NASA AMES Research Center

Marcos Acin GonzalezMarcos Acín González grew up in Leon, Spain, and went on to study Aerospace Engineering in Madrid, Valencia, and ultimately Cranfield.  At Cranfield University Marcos studied an MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design (2013-2014) as part of the Erasmus European Partnership Programme.

Following the completion of his studies, he was awarded a National Award for Excellence in Academic Performance by the Spanish Minister of Science, former astronaut Pedro Duque. The Airbus Group, University of Valencia, and the regional government of Valencia also recognised Marcos’ outstanding academic performance.

Since graduation, Marcos has worked for several engineering companies around the world including Strand7, Rolls-Royce, Applus IDIADA and NASA. Marcos’ main expertise is in Structural Analysis using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for product development and innovation. During his time at Rolls-Royce he contributed to the development of the Ultrafan engine, the next generation in aircraft engine technology. At Applus IDIADA he specialised in car crashworthiness and occupant safety working for top OEM automotive companies. Most recently, within the NASA Advanced Supercomputing department based at AMES Research Centre in Silicon Valley, he has been researching and developing new thermal protection materials for atmospheric re-entry missions.

Currently, he is pursuing an Executive MBA to expand his business acumen and make further progress in his career.

Meet the 2020 Distinguished Aviation Alumni Award Winner

Adel Al Redha (MSc Air Transport Management 1997)

Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline

Adel Al RedhaAdel Al Redha is at the helm of Emirates’ operations, both in Dubai and across the airline’s vast network of nearly 160 destinations in 85 countries. He has been in his current leadership role since 2013.

He leads teams that play an integral role in supporting Emirates flights and serving customers across the globe. Adel oversees flight operations; engineering; airport services; service delivery - including catering operations, inflight entertainment, and cabin crew; the Emirates Flight Training Academy; aircraft procurement; as well as worldwide network operations including crisis response.

Adel champions the integration of technology in all operational aspects, which has led to enhanced safety, improved efficiencies across the business, and a better customer experience. He has been instrumental in introducing initiatives and processes that enhance Emirates’ product offering onboard and on the ground. 

Adel had also initiated the introduction of National Development programmes that provide career paths for UAE national youth in aviation, and he continues to drive improvements in the working environment for all staff while keeping safety and standards at the core of all operations.

Future Travel Experience’s Airline Passenger Experience Power List ranked Adel as one of the top 5 global airline executives for his leadership in directing the airline’s consistent delivery of superior services on the ground and in the air.

In a career that started in 1988 at Emirates and now span over 30 years, he has held several senior management roles, including the procurement of aircraft and services.

Adel completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology/Aircraft Maintenance from the University of Northrop, USA. He holds a Master’s in Air Transport from Cranfield University, UK, and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Meet the 2020 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aviation Graduates Winner

Artūrs Saveljevs (Executive MSc Airport Planning and Management 2015)

Member of the Board, Riga International Airport 

Artūrs SaveljevsArtūrs began his aviation career in 2003 when he joined Riga International Airport Operations. In 2005, he was appointed the Non-Aviation Marketing Manager and later the Director of the Marketing Department. He assumed the role of the Director of the Commercial Department in 2007 becoming responsible for the airport’s non-aviation commercial activities and in September 2017 he joined the Management Board of Riga Airport currently being responsible for all airport’s commercial activities and marketing.

He holds a Master’s degree in Airport Planning and Management from Cranfield University and Master’s degree in International Economics from the University of Latvia. He is also a member of the ACI Europe Commercial Forum where he heads Airport city/Real estate task force and is a Lecturer in Aviation Management at the Transport and Telecommunication Institute in Riga.

Artūrs is a frequent speaker on airport commercial development at various local and global industry events. He is also active in the local community by counselling regional municipality on business development at the Business Advisory Council of Marupe Municipality.

In his free time, Artūrs enjoys travelling with his family, playing tennis and supporting the local aviation community.