Managing Director I First Flight LLC
The dynamic head of First Flight, Johnson Thomas has a talent for spotting critical information and acting quickly. His sharp instructions have led him true, and the Managing Director sits at the head of one of the biggest express courier companies in the GCC.
Renowned and respected for his foresight and ability to work well with a partner, Johnson has shed his humble origins to rise to the very top of the industry.
Hailing from Karukutty in Kerala, Johnson spent his childhood living the typical carefree life of a school going child until his father was paralysed by cerebral thrombosis. However, by a happy twist of fate, his brother managed to send him an Abu Dhabi visa.
He lived a modest life as he sent the bul k of his income to India to support his family but sadly lost his father shortly after their last meeting. It left Johnson with a burning ambition to achieve something great and dedicate it to the memory of his beloved father.
It can be argued that Johnson’s massive success today stems from two talents that he cultivated during his adult upbringing; spotting a pattern, and picking the right time to act on it. He founded ANE Express in 1986. Initially a one-man show, he often traversed 600 kms a day regularly to distribute consignments during that first year.
His hard work paid off: the solo entrepreneur now stands at the helm of an enterprise that has thrived for over 30 years and stayed zero debt from the day of its inception.
Driven and unwilling to settle for less than stellar growth and performance, he has cultivated that one into one of the largest courier companies in the world.
Playing the long game with the world stage in mind, it boasts a direct presence through 8 international offices and distribution tie-ups in a whopping 220 countries.
While Johnson started and raised his business alone, his talent for connecting people shines bright in First Flight. The solo entrepreneur from 1986 has today connected over 300 employees in the UAE alone, as naturally as his business ties the world together.
It offers a range of services that include last-mile delivery, road transport, transhipment services and managing project logistics, last-mile and e-commerce delivery· and counts MNC goliaths, banks and government sectors among its valued clients. First Flight soared through the pandemic with flying colours and continues its upward journey.
Johnson is especially thankful for the business-friendly environment that the rulers of this re-export hub have created and believes that such success would have been unattainable if not for the supportive frameworks in place.
He notes that the UAE government has been supportive in every sphere, and believes that the freedom and liberty that the expatriates experience in the country are unlike any in the world.
His wife, Cicily Johnson is a powerhouse who is the COO of First Flight, and a pillar of strength in his professional and personal life.
While he and Cicily steward the company now. They plan on welcoming the next generation of leaders soon.
Their children, Joshna and Jason are both successful entrepreneurs in their own rights. Joshna, who has an MBA and MSc in Business Psychology has already begun to stamp her mark on the firm, while Jason is the founder and head of 3 enterprises.
Johnson’s talent for spotting a market requirement and planting the seed of success has now yielded great results. and will continue to do so: he plans on expanding to more locations over the next few years. alongside his accomplished family.