Interview with Mr. Amer Khan, Etihad Airways Area General Manager for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Maldives
Q. As Etihad Airways’ Area General Manager Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Maldives what is your strategy now particularly for Pakistan? How do you plan to exploit the potential in this region?
Pakistan is a very important and fast-growing market for Etihad Airways. We started here in 2004 and today we operate 27 services per week between Abu Dhabi and the Pakistani cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. As Etihad Airways has gradually expanded its presence in key markets globally, our growth in the Pakistani market has also accelerated and load factors have increased as a result. In 2012, we carried around 399,000 passengers on all our Pakistani routes.
Through our hub in Abu Dhabi, we currently provide seamless connections for Pakistani travelers to more than 53 destinations in over 40 countries. As a rapidly expanding airline we are opening new routes and our network offers great connections over our home base of Abu Dhabi. This year will see us start operations to Amsterdam, Washington DC, Ho Chi Minh and Sao Paulo.
Q. Do you have plans on increasing destinations in Pakistan?
Besides Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Lahore, we are not planning any new destinations in Pakistan. However, we have recently increased the number of flights to Lahore from seven to 11 a week and we will continue to work on increasing the number of services to our other Pakistani destinations.
Q. How does Etihad respond to the demand from Pakistani travellers for premium products? Is there a demand?
Yes, definitely. There is a huge demand for premium products in Pakistan and especially from the Northern City of Lahore where a higher demand for our Diamond First Class and Pearl Business Class exists from business travellers from Sialkot and Faisalabad.
Q. What do you think about the fares? Do you think they are competitive?
Our fares are reviewed on a daily basis and we make sure that they are competitive based on the market demand.
Q. As you say that safety is a priority, does that increase the cost?
Safety is a priority for Etihad Airways. We pride ourselves on our aircraft maintenance and safety measures and preflight checks to ensure that travellers are not inconvenienced by unnecessary technical delays. Our ‘on time’ arrival rates are among the highest in the world.
Q. Tell us something about yourself and your relationship with Etihad airways and the aviation industry?
I’ve been in Etihad Airways for three and half years. I was first appointed as Pakistan’s country manager in April 2009 and in January 2012 I became the Area General Manager of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Maldives. Prior to working in Etihad Airways I held several posts in the aviation industry over a period of almost 20 years.
Q. How do you find Pakistan as a destination? Do you like working here?
Strangely enough, prior to my posting I had never been to Pakistan. I grew up and was raised in the United Kingdom. I really think it’s a wonderful country. There is a lot of potential here. People are focusing on education and want to get ahead and be progressive.
AMER N. KHAN (Profile)
Leading from the front as the “Area General Manager”-Pakistan,BangladeshandNepal, at Etihad Airways, Mr. Amer Khan is a seasoned professional, driving Etihad’s commercial operations towards the highest quality benchmarks in the international aviation industry. Earlier in April 2009, he had joined Etihad airways as the Country Manager–Pakistan, where he successfully led the national operations till December 2011, whereby he was promoted to this regional leadership position.
Before enriching the Etihad Airways team, Amer served the American Airlines for eight years as the Regional Manager-Middle East andPakistan. In 2006, He was relocated fromLondontoDubai, to spearhead the strategic planning process for the region. Due to his skillful efforts, the American Airlines became the number oneUScarrier in this region, as he developed strategic alliances with other prestigious airlines, and initiated new offices inSaudi ArabiaandOman.
Prior to that, Amer had already worked as a Business Development Manager at South African Airways in theUnited Kingdom. Other engagements in Amer’s career include; high profiled endeavors in the automotive and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industries.
Amer’s extensive experience in theMiddle EastandSouth Asiahas played a critical role in strengthening Etihad’s network. He provides a deep insight from the aviation industry and blends it with effective strategies from other business sectors, for creating success and excellence.