Athar Husain Khan was born in The Hague to a Pakistani father and a Dutch mother. Because of his father’s work, he spent the first years of his life in the Middle East where he was educated in English and Arabic.
After moving back to The Netherlands he was educated at Dutch primary and secondary schools. He graduated from the University of Leiden with a degree in International Law, and also specialised in Air and Space Law. He subsequently worked as a legal advisor for a transport company and for the Ministry of Education, Sciences and Culture. After a couple of years he joined the Aeropolitical Division of the Ministry of Transport as a negotiator of traffic rights with government authorities all over the world and senior policy advisor on various international issues.
He joined KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 1998 where he worked in the Flight Operations department as a negotiator on aeronautical charges, project manager for the Millennium Contingency project and as senior manager responsible for the regulatory and policy issues surrounding Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. In July 2002 he was appointed Director of Government & Industry Affairs where he was responsible for the Public Affairs Division, dealing mainly with infrastructure and environment issues, the Air France – KLM merger and European and international aeropolitical affairs.
He joined AEA in 2007 as General Manager Infrastructure, where he was responsible for value chain issues such as the airline – airport relationship, airport charges, airport capacity, slots, ground handling, passenger rights and social affairs. In 2011 he was appointed Deputy Secretary General and as of 28 November 2013 he is the Chief Executive Officer of AEA.
He is keen on sports (squash, cricket, he ran the New York City marathon three times), holds a private pilot’s license and is interested in relationships between Eastern and Western culture, religion and politics. He is married with one son.