Colm McLoughlin was a member of the consultancy team from Aer Rianta, the Irish Airport Authority, which was contracted by the Dubai Government to launch the new duty free operation in 1983. He remained in Dubai as General Manager of the new operation, later becoming Managing Director. In July 2011, Colm was named Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Duty Free and its subsidiary businesses, which include The Irish Village, The Century Village, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.
Under the Executive Vice Chairman & CEO's leadership, Dubai Duty Free has grown dramatically over the past 34 years during which the business grew from US$20 million (1984) to US$1.93 billion in 2017.
Now employing over 5,900 staff, Dubai Duty Free is widely regarded for having set the benchmark for the duty free industry in the region.
Under Colm’s direction, Dubai Duty Free has received 600 awards including the Frontier Awards for Airport Retailer of the Year in Single Location, which was won by the operation for the eight time.
Dubai Duty Free's Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Colm McLoughlin was also presented with several awards including the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the CEO Middle East Awards for Retail CEO of the Year." In addition, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of the University (DUniv) by the Middlesex University Dubai, as part of its celebration of the academic success of its Class 2017. He was honored for his contribution to UAE society and outstanding service to the aviation sector as key player in the region's retail sector for 34 years.
A keen philanthropist, Colm established the Dubai Duty Free Foundation in 2004 and since then has supported 39 local and 52 overseas charities including Hand in Hand for Haiti, The Moodie Report Great Travel Retail Educathlon, Smile Train and the construction of 32 houses in the DDF GK Village, located in the province of Leyte, Philippines.