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Interviews

EHSAN SEHBAI, CEO – SHAHEEN AIR INTERNATIONAL

IMG_1697“I was born in Edmonton, Canada and moved to Pakistan when I was 8 years old. My father wanted us to reconnect with our roots and traditions and experience our culture first hand. As an ex Pakistan Air Force fighter pilot my father was very patriotic and instilled the same values in us. We have always believed in serving the people as much as we can and Alhamdulillah we have a platform to do this.”

BM: How did you become a part of Shaheen Air International? Tell us about your success journey?

ES: My family has always had an interest in aviation and entrepreneurship, that was a driving factor in our acquisition of Shaheen Air International in 2004. By the mercy of Almighty Allah, we were able to seamlessly transition from our commercial real estate business in Canada to the aviation industry in Pakistan. We wanted to be involved in all facets of the business and ensure that we were part of the active management and accountable for not only the successes but also, the challenges that are part and parcel of any business enterprise.

BM: After your father’s demise you and your brother took control over the operations of Shaheen Air International , so how are you taking forward the expansion policy of your father?

ES: The vision that we have for Shaheen Air International is very clear; we are committed to ensuring that we offer premium quality service to our customers and a streamlined and seamless customer journey, from their first moment of contact through to the completion of their journey. The comfort and well-being of our customers are a primary consideration; in fact, by the grace of Almighty Allah we have just invested in fifteen new aircrafts to double our fleet size to ensure that we are offering the safest and most advanced aircrafts in the market.

BM: How big is your fleet right now? And what are your future expectations?

ES: Our current fleet comprises of twenty-five aircrafts – eighteen narrow body aircrafts, servicing the domestic and short-haul international sectors and seven wide body aircrafts that service the long haul sectors, internationally. We have ambitious plans for the future and are expecting fifteen additional aircrafts to be inducted by the end 2017, Inshallah.

BM: Is this your only venture or are you occupied in other projects as well?

Shaheen Air International is a passion project for our family; it is a way for us to ensure that we are serving our nation and making tangible contributions towards a more efficient and economically independent Pakistan. We have a long way to go before we can even think of shifting our focus away from Shaheen Air International and are proud of the fact that we are able to devote ourselves 100 % to this enterprise and to our nation.

BM: What is the unique selling point of your airline that makes it stand out?

Shaheen Air International offers a high quality of service that hinges on a multitude of factors including personalized attention, hot meals on every flight and a comfortable and safe environment for each and every passenger. Shaheen Air International is not only an excellent choice for its passengers, but also for its employees. I am proud to say that Shaheen Air International has a work environment and a corporate culture that is unmatched in Pakistan.

BM: How do you insure quality and safety of your passengers?

ES: The safety and security of our staff and passengers is of paramount importance to us and we have stringent protocols and quality control measures in place to ensure we are not only complying with government regulations and guidelines, but exceeding the requirements. We conduct trainings, checks and drills that are regularly refreshed to ensure top of mind recall and a targeted focus on safety. We are nothing without our passengers, and we take it as a personal duty to ensure that they are taken care of to the best of our ability.

BM: How do you tackle the challenges that are faced by you and your Airline?

ES: The question actually comes down to perspective – A challenge is just an opportunity to test your resolve, creativity and commitment. Success is so much more meaningful when you have had to overcome challenges to attain it and I’m a firm believer that we should look at challenges as a way for us to push our own boundaries.

BM: How do you cope up with the technology advancement in the aviation industry?

ES: Coping up with the technology is one of the major reasons behind success of any organization. We are constantly working for improved services for our passengers by getting them the best through technology advancements.

We are working on Inflight entertainment systems with Air France for our passengers for long routes to provide them entertainment onboard.  Moreover we have advanced in airport technologies and mobile applications to provide convenience in every possible way for our passengers. We aim at adding the best aircraft in our fleet for smooth & comfortable flights for our passengers

“WHEN YOU PROVIDE A SERVICE THAT NOT ONLY MEETS, BUT ALSO EXCEEDS CUSTOMER’S EXPECTATIONS, YOU ARE RAISING THE BAR FOR ALL THE PLAYERS WITHIN THE INDUSTRY. I’M VERY PROUD OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE BEEN THE LEADER IN THIS CATEGORY & HELPED TO ENHANCE THE PAKISTANI AVIATION MARKET”

BM: Do you think the aviation industry has now become more competitive than the past?

ES: When you provide a service that not only meets, but also exceeds customer’s expectations, you are raising the bar for all the players within the industry. I’m very proud of the fact that we have been the leader in this category & helped to enhance the Pakistani aviation market. Competition is vital to the evolution of any industry – it makes us be better operators, while passing on the benefits and value adds to the end customer.

BM: What message do you like to give to our readers?

ES: Shaheen Air International is a family business and our passengers are part of our family – We are dedicated and committed to ensuring that we are always giving back to the nation that made us who we are and we will always look after our people. Almighty Allah has blessed us all with being citizens of a nation that has limitless potential, and the talent to make great things happen. We have an opportunity to make history here and I can promise you that we will give it our 100 percent.

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