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In our regular Routes News series we take a look at the people that attend Routes events and find out more about them, their jobs and the current industry issues impacting them. In this issue we speak to Hemanth DP, chief operating officer aero-commercial,
cargo and Asia Pacific Flying School, GMR Hyderabad International Airport.
Q) How was World Routes 2016 for you?
"It was interesting and beneficial as we met a lot of airlines. Without Routes it would be too difficult to meet them because they are so spread out, and it would be too expensive to meet them one by one.
"We have focused on educating people about Hyderabad airport. They are surprised about how well located we are as we are in the centre of India. We can be a hub, especially to the south of the country, and if you are landing in Hyderabad you can connect to a very large central area too. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t exist in any other part of India.
"We have been focusing on Europe’s airlines as we do a lot of business with them. More than 20% of our trade comes from Asia, so that has been our focus too.
"We also met with many airports, as collaboration among them is very important to promote routes to airlines. We can then work together once we have a new route and promote it jointly."
Q) What opportunities are available for travellers?
"As far as incoming business travellers are concerned, Hyderabad is important for pharma, IT and aerospace, with a number of manufacturers based here, including Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, CFM, Honeywell and Bombardier Aerospace. Leisure travellers also enjoy the culture on offer.
"We also have one other asset – we are the Indian film industry’s second biggest home after Mumbai and while that is good for inbound traffic it is also driving our outbound market. For instance, a lot of movies are now getting shot abroad. If a place appears in the movies, it is some of the best publicity you can get here as Indians watch a lot of movies and get to know the countries where they are shot. This encourages tourism to these locations. China is another destination that we know Indians are interested in as there are so many places to see and it is only five hours away.
"Tourism boards play a major role in developing tourism. Malaysia and Dubai do a good job, but others have the opportunity to do more. When more tourism boards get involved in route development, it becomes even better. It would be good see a lot more tourist boards attending Routes events and more hospitality chains like the big hotel groups."
Q) Best and worst part of the job?
"The best thing about the job is that when you work for a public asset such as an airport, it is not just an office job – you are working for the city and the region. The whole city sees the airport as theirs and is proud of it. When things go well, everyone shares the success. It is an honour to work for it.
"The airport is also an opportunity to show the city in its best light as it is the first place visitors come to. It is the place where new visitors form their first opinions; if the experience is good and the security is quick, then people say: “Wow, this is great.”
"Airports bring in cargo, trade, economic growth and jobs, so they have a real impact on the local economy and people. When you work for an airport, you not only need to know about the airport business but also about all your clients’ businesses as well. You need to know what is going on in the local, national and global economy as well developments around the world, so it gives a huge sense of satisfaction.
"It is also an enormous responsibility – if something goes wrong, we are in the spotlight. It is a demanding job and it is 24/7. Working for an airport is definitely a busy and challenging job, but it is also one of the most responsible, exciting and fulfilling."
This article is modified from an original feature that appeared in...
ROUTES NEWS - ISSUE 7, 2016
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