Saleem Amanulla: Achieving Organizational Turnarounds with Multifaceted Experience in Airline Operations

Saleem Amanulla
Saleem Amanulla

With a proven track record in organizational turnarounds, capacity building and tight budget control, Saleem Amanulla is a seasoned aviation industry expert with over 25 years of experience.

Saleem is Senior Vice President, Business Transformation at Oman Air, and his career has been built around his passion for championing airline operations and man-management skills. One of Saleem’s strengths is his multifaceted experience in various aspects of airline operations. He has worked in inflight services, customer services, ground operations, and learning and development. This has given him a unique perspective on the industry as a whole and enabled him to bring a holistic approach to his work.

In addition to his expertise in airline operations, Saleem is also a natural mentor and coach. He has lifelong experience as a trainer, and he has a passion for helping others grow and develop their skills. This has been a key factor in his success as a leader, as he is able to bring out the best in his team members and inspire them to achieve their full potential.

Saleem is a situational leader, which means that he is able to adapt his leadership style to different situations and challenges. This has been particularly important in his work in organizational turnarounds, where he has had to navigate complex and challenging situations and make tough decisions.

Prior Endeavors  

Saleem’s career trajectory is a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Despite starting his career as an airport service agent, Saleem was able to climb the ranks and achieve impressive success in the aviation industry. He began as a customer service trainer, where he honed his skills in communication and customer service. From there, he became an airport manager, overseeing the day-to-day operations of a busy airport.

Saleem’s career continued to advance as he moved on to become a regional head, responsible for overseeing multiple airports within a specific region. Finally, he reached the pinnacle of his career as an SVP of Ground Operations, where he was responsible for the global delivery of customer services. Throughout his career, Saleem remained committed to his academic education, earning a graduate degree and pursuing a plethora of aviation technical and academic programs.

Saleem’s dedication to education and professional development was key to his success. By continuously improving his knowledge and skills, he was able to stay ahead of the curve in a constantly evolving industry. His commitment to lifelong learning serves as an inspiration to others, proving that no matter where you start, you can achieve great things with hard work and dedication.

Improving Processes

The airline industry is undoubtedly complex, with high levels of capital and labor investment required to ensure smooth operations. This presents significant challenges for airline executives who are responsible for managing all aspects of operational and financial responsibility. One of the key challenges is to maintain consistent and high-quality customer service, especially when operating on a global scale with diverse cultural considerations.

Saleem recognized this challenge and made significant contributions to the airline industry by influencing operations at three levels. Firstly, he ensured that the staff was appropriately delegated and motivated to apply customer-centricity throughout the operation. This helped to ensure that all customer interactions were handled with care, attention, and a focus on meeting their needs.

Secondly, Saleem ensured that adequate resources were allocated to ensure that service delivery was achieved. This included everything from investing in the latest technology and equipment to ensuring that staff had access to the necessary training and support. By doing so, Saleem helped to ensure that the airline was able to consistently meet customer expectations, no matter where in the world they were traveling.

Saleem also recognized the importance of digitalization in ensuring the consistent delivery and user-friendliness of applications from both the customer and employee perspective. This involved investing in cutting-edge technology to streamline operations and improve the customer experience. By embracing digitalization, Saleem helped to ensure that the airline remained competitive in a rapidly evolving industry and could provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for customers.

Leading Airline

Since its inception in 1993, Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has experienced rapid growth and has emerged as a crucial player in positioning Oman as a prominent tourism and logistics hub that connects the world. Its fleet comprises of ultra-modern and fuel-efficient aircraft that offer award-winning interiors, premium products, and its hallmark Omani hospitality, providing passengers with an unparalleled on-board experience.

As an equal opportunity employer, Oman Air provides equal opportunities for both nationals and expatriates, including equal remuneration and equal opportunities for career progression, regardless of gender. The airline takes pride in being one of the few airlines in the region that ensures total equality in its workplace.

Oman Air’s culture is in harmony with Omani Culture, creating an environment where its staff is physically and mentally fit to deliver efficient operations.

A Strong Advocate of Tech Transformation

Saleem is a staunch advocate for digitalization in the airline industry. He believes that digitalization can significantly improve the consistent delivery of services and integrate processes across multiple domains, including operations and finance. By implementing digitalization, Saleem ensured that the airline’s processes were transparent and efficient, making it easier for staff to manage their tasks and responsibilities.

In addition to promoting digitalization in general, Saleem was a strong proponent of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Digital Workforce solutions. He recognized the potential benefits of these technologies in ensuring consistency and efficiency across various airline operations. By implementing RPA and Digital Workforce solutions, Saleem helped to automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and improve the overall quality of service delivery.

Future of Transportation

Saleem strongly believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next major game-changer in the airline industry. He envisions a future where AI will enable the entire customer journey to be seamless, from check-in and immigration to boarding and baggage handling upon arrival. With AI, passengers and airlines will have access to real-time information, facilitating expeditious decision-making and improving transparency throughout the travel experience.

Saleem recognizes the vast potential of AI to enhance customer experiences by providing personalized services and resolving issues in real-time. For instance, AI-powered chatbots can help passengers with flight information, travel restrictions, and other queries, providing a seamless customer experience. Moreover, AI can also assist in optimizing flight schedules and aircraft maintenance, improving operational efficiency and reducing costs.

AI will revolutionize the airline industry by providing a more connected and personalized travel experience for passengers while also improving operational efficiency for airlines. With AI, the industry can provide a more efficient and cost-effective solution to the ever-growing demands of air travel, and Saleem is committed to ensuring that Oman Air is at the forefront of this technological transformation.

Vision as a Leader and Individual

With over 25 years of experience in the aviation industry, Saleem is a highly accomplished professional with a deep understanding of the complexities of airline operations. He is committed to using his expertise to drive transformational change in the industry and improve customer satisfaction and the quality-of-service delivery.

As Saleem looks towards the next phase of his career, he is focused on becoming a transformative leader in the aviation industry. He is considering various options, including heading an airline or a global ground service provider, with the ultimate goal of leading the industry towards a new era of excellence in customer service and operational efficiency.

Saleem believes that a transformative leader in the aviation industry must be innovative, strategic, and customer-centric, with a focus on leveraging technology to improve the overall travel experience. He is committed to developing and implementing new strategies and initiatives that will improve operational efficiency and deliver superior customer service, while also driving profitability and growth for the company.

Note for Budding Entrepreneurs

Saleem is a strong advocate for continuous learning and development, and he believes that this is essential for success in any field, particularly in entrepreneurship. He advises budding entrepreneurs to never stop learning and to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

According to Saleem, risk-taking is also a critical component of growth, and he encourages entrepreneurs to be bold and venture into starting their own businesses. He recognizes that there are always risks involved in any business venture, but he believes that the rewards are worth it, and that failure is an important part of the learning process.

At the same time, Saleem emphasizes the importance of having a backup plan, which can be provided by academic qualifications and work experience. While entrepreneurship may be the primary goal, academic qualifications and work experience can serve as a safety net, providing the skills and knowledge necessary to recover quickly from setbacks and pursue alternative paths.