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“In today’s competitive world, if you want to be in game and want to be successful, you have to always be on top of things and you need to be one step ahead of the competition.”

Ihab A Sorial is the Senior Vice President – International Sales for Oman Air. Sorial started his career in the aviation business at the young age of 17. He worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airline for four years as Management Trainee. Then he joined Thomas Cook as a sales person and was later promoted to Manager. Then Sorial worked with Qatar Airways as Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa, Indian Subcontinent and the Americas. He joined Oman Air in 2016.

Sorial has altogether experience of 32 years in the airline industry. In an interview with Business 360, Sorial shared his experience of the industry and the future of Oman Air in Nepal. Excerpts:

How has your experience of the airline industry been?

I have had a long experience in the industry. I have been to many countries in many positions. I learn from my job everywhere I go as I have worked with many nationalities and cultures. My expertise is in sales. I like serving people straight from the heart and I am very people oriented person. I emphasise on people, on the way they work and I inspire them. I believe that if people are happy, then business is happy, and this is the backbone of any business. I like to invest in people, and I like to lead by example.

How has been the journey of Oman Air in Nepal?

It has been a very exciting and interesting journey. Nepal, for us, is a success story. We started in 2010 with only four weekly flights. Today we have 15 weekly flights. The improvement and growth has been exponential. The team is doing very well and we are known and respected in the market. Our customers appreciate our service. Personally, I have been the in-charge of the Indian subcontinent in my previous jobs. And with that experience, I have come to love Nepal and its people. I thank Nepal and Nepalis – it has offered us expansion and success. We will be staying in Nepal, and we are here for the long run and we will continue to serve Nepal.

Being a small market, how important is Nepal for your airlines?

Despite being small, Nepal is very crucial for us. We don’t just look at Nepal, we look at the entire network. A lot of people from around the world come to Nepal; the tourism aspect is very huge. People all around the world come to Kathmandu, so Nepal is a very important market for us. We have had big growth compared to last year, of almost 28%. It is out-performing and out-pacing the capacity increase. We will further try to increase the number of flights and provide more offers without raising prices. Nepali customers can expect consistency and quality service.

How is the competition in Nepal?

The customers are becoming very smart these days> Internet and globalisation has opened up a lot of choice to customers, so we need to be very alert and offer good service. I believe people follow a product or brand because of the relationship they feel with the brand. So we need to maintain the relationship. I believe in relationships and service. In today’s competitive world, if you want to be in game and want to be successful, you have to always be on top of things and you need to be one step ahead of the competition. I believe in competition, it is good as it gives more options to the customers. Almost all the Middle Eastern airlines are present in Nepal, so the competition is quite fierce. We learn from each other and we respect each other, so it is very healthy competition.

What are your sales strategies?

We keep on updating our services and we check our strengths and weaknesses. We work on our weakness and improve our strengths. We always try to be better for our customers. We focus on segmentation. We don’t want one segment of the market, so we are constantly diversifying. We want to increase the number of our premium travelers and corporate fliers.

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