Pawana Shrestha is the Country Manager of Etihad Airways in Nepal. She has occupied this position for six years and has played a vital role in the expansion of the airlines reputation in the country. Here, she shares some insights about her role in a company which has over these years flown over a million passengers.
In just 15 years, Etihad has established itself as one of the top airlines in the world. In your experience what are the key factors behind the rise?
Since the start our focus has been on quality, not quantity. Our aim is to be the world’s best airline. We take great pride in our award-winning services. We have been named Middle East’s leading airline in 2016 and also won three honours at Skytrax awards: World’s Best First Class Airline, Best First Class Onboard Catering and World’s Best First Class Seat. As you can see these awards exemplify our standards of excellence and quality.
What are your goals and expectations for the Nepali market?
It’s been 10 years since our service started in Nepal and till date we have carried more than 1.2 million guests. We are focused on continuing our establishment as a premium brand airline. We are the only full service airline from UAE to Nepal and therefore are actively promoting tourism, providing the best connections from EU, Middle East, Africaand USA.
We work very closely with our trade partners in the Nepal market to optimise the revenue opportunities and now our online platform has become equally important for us and we expect business to grow further through web sales.
What are some of the identifiable challenges?
The main operational challenge is our airport’s infrastructure.
Do tell us about your management philosophy and how your leadership has helped Etihad grow in Nepal.
I believe in inclusiveness, empowerment and ownership. I ensure that I am always there for my team, to listen to them, motivate them and also to challenge them so that they do not become complacent. I encourage innovative and creative ideas and am very focused on time management and my team knows this very well.
What does your clientele look like? Has it changed much over the years?
We are the only full service airline fromUAE to Nepal with best connections to Europe, USA, Middle East, and Africa so we have now mostly long haul passengers rather than labour.
Besides infrastructure what can be done to boost tourism in the country?
I think, apart from infrastructure and international or regional airport developments in the long term, first things first, we need to make our country clean as we are already blessed with natural abundance. We have a wealth of diverse cultural practices that will attract tourists. Moreover, we also need to further come up with innovative marketing campaigns focusing on potential clientsin different countries with the help of media both online and offline.