Asiya's inspiring aviation journey wins her accolades

Recently Asiya added a coveted feather to her hat, when she ‘Great Managers Award’ for female category at all-India level.

Flying from the Srinagar Airport is often not much of a pleasing experience. The security hassles are quite a dampener for any flyer but amid the hectic security checks, there is a rather refreshing sight at the airport terminal. Young and starry-eyed Kashmiri airline executives attending to customers reflecting of the capabilities local youngsters are gifted with that can help them shine in the corporate world. One among these is a youngster known for a spring in her stride and a great insight into customer service in the aviation sector.

From her childhood days in the rather conservative growing up environs of Saudi Arabia, where her father worked as a doctor, to now being a suave corporate executive, a transitory life between Saudi and Kashmir for airliner IndiGo’s Srinagar Airport Operations Manager Asiya Bashir has been a roller coaster ride.

Recently Asiya added a coveted feather to her hat, when she ‘Great Managers Award’ for female category at all-India level.

Great Managers Award was launched in 2016. It’s a joint initiative of People Business and Economic Times. The intent of this program is to identify, recognise and reward organisations with great managers in India. This program enables the participant organisation to compare and benchmark themselves and their managers across the industry.

Asiya has never been a shy kid and was rather outspoken and keen on taking initiatives from the very beginning. While most of the kids aspire to mostly become doctors and engineers, the now dynamic manager, liked to play games with friends and cousins where she would enact an airhostess.

 All praise for her family and in-laws for extending their unconditional support and helping her walk the path less travelled and join aviation industry, the young manager feels being nominated by IndiGo for the Great Managers Award has come as a shot in the arm for her. She won the award among 2500 competing managers representing 96 different corporate houses from across India. Most Airline officials say the award is a great honour for Asiya and a welcome step of encouragement for women’s empowerment in Kashmir. With the likes of Asiya shining in the aviation industry, more youngsters can explore a career in aviation, said several airline executives at the Srinagar Airport.

The forthrightly outspoken manager, who believes customer service as the most unique aspect of the aviation industry, recounts her early days in this sector when she joined Air Sahara as customer service officer at local ticketing office of the then low-cost carrier. As soon Air Sahara was about to merge with another airline, Asiya got an opportunity to work with Go Air as an executive and later got promoted as duty officer. Most of her colleagues say Asiya’s learning curve started at GoAir adding that it was “priceless” as during her four-year-long stint from 2006 to 2010, the lady who is often spotted dressed in a spotless IndiGo uniform at the Srinagar Airport, learnt the nuances of the aviation and travel industry.

For Asiya winning the Economic Times award is a great recognition to her skill-set and professional experience garnered over several years but what matters most to her is the end result of a great teamwork at IndiGo. Asiya got an opportunity to join IndiGo at Srinagar as Airport Manager in 2010. As per her colleagues, her seniors took into consideration her hard work and skills related to people’s management, resulting in her promotion as senior manager airport operations at IndiGo.

At present Asiya is handling a team of 125 employees of IndiGo at the airport, which includes workforce at customer services, ramp area of the terminal and security side as well. For Asiya, winning the ET award is a great achievement as she feels that Kashmiri’s especially women folk can become achievers with help of sheer hard work.

“We in Kashmir are somehow not used to a thorough professionalism as is seen outside. Our work culture needs a lot of improvement and there needs to be a sea change in our outlook and attitudes as well,” says Asiya. Her colleagues and counterparts in other Airline companies think of Asia as an innovative and hard-working professional. “Her work is her passion and she comes to the Airport every day with new ideas and challenges to accept. Her belief in better customer service and following the core philosophy of an airline to be on time and offer hassle-free travel to flyers is something she swears by,” said Showkat Ahmad, an airport executive.  

Several young Kashmiris aspiring to join the aviation industry are quite overwhelmed with the recognition Asiya has received from ET. They say a Kashmiri women manager winning an award at the national level will bring local talent at equal footing. “Often Airlines hold recruitment drives in Kashmir for cabin crew and ground staff as well. I feel we should take inspiration from Asiya and make a career in aviation,” said Shahnaz, who has been aspiring to become a commercial pilot. For Asiya, the mantra to success is “being like the student of the aviation sector every single day”.  She says no experience goes waste adding that “learning on the job” and being a go-getter are the most important qualities an airline executive or a manager must pick-up during the course of the job.