A day spent with Mrs. Rummy Shrestha, airport manager for Buddha Air
November 27, 2016 – Kathmandu
We had scheduled the meeting at 11:00 AM. We were informed that she would be busy before that as most of the flights for the day were scheduled in the morning and she had to observe the team and manage them. We were excited about the interview. We hassled and were overwhelmed as the country’s best airline company provided us the opportunity to meet with the ground station manager of their team at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) whose responsibility is so crucial and critical that it takes all the energy and conscience of a person.
In all the aggravation, after taking the pass to enter the domestic terminal building at TIA, we climbed upstairs to reach her cabin. We were surprised at her convivial and jolly welcome despite being a woman of high caliber. She had a walkie-talkie in her table that caught our eye at first as if it talked about her without words and what her responsibilities were. And, on top of that, the surprise came within seconds when she started being so candid. We were in awe at her cheerful yet responsible words that gave a strong vibe about how serious things were and working in an airport and dealing with hundred of passengers everyday is a tough job.
Some of the queries we had about her were the following:
Name: Rummy Shrestha
Qualification: Bachelor’s in Management
1. What is your profession? How do you describe your profession?
I am the airport manager of Buddha Air for Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu.
Well, being an airport manager at TlA, I need to coordinate with all division/department and CAA Nepal for smooth operations of our daily scheduled flights. Additionally, I need to monitor all flights and mobilize my staff for smooth functioning of our daily activities as the job has always has to be on the spot and has to be completed on the same day. Being an airport manager is not easy and takes a lot than the rest of the jobs around. After completion of our interview, I’d like to give you a tour of my working area to give you a glimpse.
2. Why is it significant or important for aviation industry?
Airport manager plays a very important role in smooth functioning of its operations and timely completion of all the flights. Since, aviation is a service industry, any dissatisfaction from the customer directly impacts the airline’s reputation, so the manager needs to ensure that all the customer are satisfied.
3. Why did you choose this profession and how did you get involved?
I didn’t deliberately choose this profession. I was suggested by a friend to join Buddha Air.
4. How long have you been working in Nepalese Aviation?
It has been 15 years since I joined Buddha Air.
5. How were your early days in aviation industry?
After my friend suggested, I joined as a ticketing agent at Buddha Air where I performed in an extraordinary way to provide customer service so I was transferred to Ground Operations department of Buddha Air at TlA, Kathmandu. At the beginning, it was quite exigent for me as the job regarding ground operations was completely different from ticketing.
6. How hard is it to work in aviation as a woman? What kind of challenges you had to face and are you still facing them?
Work is work for everyone despite of his/her gender/sex as he/she will have to give the same effort to complete the task. Till date I haven’t gained or lost anything at my work because gender doesn’t matter and service is a never ending process which is passed on from generation to generation which is to be enjoyed thoroughly.
In a service industry, we are directly in contact with our customers. In a day, we provide service to nearly 4000 passengers, so it’s quite challenging to keep every customer satisfied. In addition to customer satisfaction, our major focus is on safe operations through safety and security of our passengers which I try to achieve by mobilizing my staff and continuous monitoring of our activities. During my early days with Buddha Air, I had to complete my job during my shift and no further effort was required whereas now being an airport manager, I have to plan and organize as required for our operations so my responsibility then and now has increased a lot. As you know, recently his Excellency Pranab Mukharje, President of India, flew to Janakpur and Pokhara via our airlines for which we had to plan and handle operation as suited for him without disturbing our regular flights as much as we could since our regular passengers are always important to us.
7. What do you enjoy the most about your profession?
I dislike remaining idle so I love that my job keeps me busy and occupied. Also, I have strong public relation due to my profession.
8. What are your wishes for the future of Nepali aviation?
I wish that the safety and security of Nepali aviation be listed on top among all.
9. What is your message and advise for aviation aspirants?
Well, I’d like to tell that aviation profession is very glamorous from outside whereas it’s equally meticulous and at the same time, fun if you enjoy it.
10. What are your views about Aviation Nepal?
I find that your concept of interviewing and bringing the voice of people inside the aviation industry to the public is a very good job as the general public will be able to know what’s going on in the industry.
As per her wish, she took us a tour around her working areas and different workstations. She took us to the counters of Buddha Air where the ticketing, issuing boarding passes, and assisting travelers to check in their luggage are done. She assisted her co-workers likewise who were quite confused about things that were going on.
Then, we entered the waiting hall to move to the apron of the domestic terminal. She called her staff and arranged a minivan which the Buddha air staff mockingly called the ‘Ferrari’.
We traveled around the airport viewing the hangar of different airlines to reach the hangar of Buddha air at last which is located beside the east helipad. It was about 2:00pm in the afternoon and she took us to lunch in the Buddha air’s canteen. We could see all the staffs in merry together having their lunch. We were in wonder looking at the camaraderie of the staffs and the pleasant working environment. We sat at the same table and had our lunch along with some chitchats. The friendliness of the staffs along with Mrs. Rummy Shrestha made us more positive towards the nation’s leading airline company. After that, we returned to the domestic terminal and we asked her a goodbye.
Mrs. Rummy Shrestha is a leading example of the caliber of how much a woman can accomplish and how professional are the employees of Buddha Air. Her experiences and her thoughts throughout the years in an industry where a small incident can bring big repercussions and if taken lightly can bring great harm and such realization has certainly made her a strong woman but also a responsible and a great individual.