Big is not always beautiful
Ihab A. Sorial Senior Vice President – International Sales OMAN Air
How would you like to brief the relationship with Kathmandu?
For Oman Air, Kathmandu means a sustainable growth and success as expected. We had started our flights to Kathmandu on 2010 with only four flights a week. Which increased to seven, fourteen and now ultimately to fifteen flights a week. Now it’s 2017, in seven years four to fifteen is big achievement. Nepalese market is not big in size but it’s really important for us. We can see lots of potential in this market and the market seems ready for many kinds of new adaptation for travel and trade fraternity. So, in short I would like to remark that “We are happy to be here”.
When we can expect three daily flights from Kathmandu?
Soon. Our country manager, Nepal, Mr. John asked me the same question in our business meeting today morning and the GSA also wants the increment of flight frequency. Our regional vice president for Indian sub-continent was also insisting me for the same. It can’t be decided sentimentally, but comes with multiple data analysis. We are expecting more premium guests that mean a substantial increment in business class sales and premium revenue generating passengers originating from Kathmandu. Our seats are occupied well enough, but till the date it’s not yet feasible for an additional flight. As per the Nepal station, they are capable for handling additional frequency but currently we don’t have a spare aircraft sitting around. Although we are thinking seriously in this matter and will come with a positive result very soon.
Oman Air presents itself as a boutique airline, how is it different from others?
It’s simple, big is not always beautiful. So, being not the biggest airline we are loud and aggressive in terms of customer service. We are small and boutique in a sense that we take every traveler as an important guest but not in number or revenue. All of our travelers are treated as family members of our Oman Air family. The biggest difference is our whole team works so closely feeling like family, which is always passed to our guest travelers. The personalized service and the way of taking care to all individual travelers, differentiates Oman Air from all other airline brands around us.
Are you satisfied with GSA in Nepal?
It’s very tricky, to answer this question sitting in a premises managed by GSA. But, I am very glad to answer it. I would like to start this answer with a recall of one of my unforgettable moments of my life. When I was working in another airline, the vice-president of marketing team asked to leave all the GSA staffs from the meeting hall making a note the coming session is only for airline marketing staffs. We were shocked, the GSA staffs started leaving the hall and apparently few airline staffs including me also left the hall. Meanwhile he clapped from the stage and told he was pulling our legs. He continued the speech thanking airline staffs for not differentiating with GSA members. That’s always in my mind and here in Oman Air, I am obsessed with the same motivation.
Since I landed in Kathmandu the day before to till now I haven’t felt I am out of my office in some other country. That is our GSA environment in Nepal, who equally treats our passengers as guests. This is very important. In terms of business we have made all the decisions collectively and outcome with win-win situations. GSA in Nepal has maintained all the transparency with us and achieved a sustainable growth. There is nothing to disappoint me.
I have experienced requirement of improvement in inflight entertainment and frequent flyer program, how the airline is working on it?
Now we have a very experienced team leader in Guest Experience and Brand department who comes from a five star airline. So, in recent days we have gone through lots of changes and improvements from liquor to food, presentation of food to inflight entertainment system and its content. Passengers travelling on Oman Air will experience more improvements in coming days. Same situation is there in the frequent flyer program. For the premium flyer, they can earn a maximum mileage and benefits while travelling with Sindbad membership. Obviously there are limitations with the participating airline, hotels, car rentals and other partners. So, the team is working really hard to make it one of the best airline loyalty programs.
What are your expectations from Nepalese market?
I expect more business class passengers, more corporate traffic, more segmentation and more MICE groups onboard Oman Air. I expect from my people. We are having new airport in Oman now. So we want to diversify our flying segment. We want to showcase our preciousness to the travelers from Nepal. Our product deserves better than now, for which my team will work hard and reach to the potential travelers with more options, features and competitive fares.