I’m an engineer by training, and have worked for Rolls-Royce for 37 years. I first moved into a customer service environment in the 1980s, as a Performance Engineer with the RB211, and then into a broader Customer Services role supporting our Boeing 747/Lockheed L1011.
After a period overseas at International Aero Engines, I moved into sales as we expanded our team to cover the emerging Middle East markets. At the time, many of the major Middle East airlines we know today were in their formative stages; Gulf Air was the dominant carrier and Emirates was in its infancy. I moved to Dubai in 2012 as the Civil Large Engines sales representative in the region, and as the market has grown it’s become even more important that we have a presence here.
Dubai is very cosmopolitan for the Middle East and has given me the chance to do different things. Since moving here two years ago, I’ve learnt how to scuba dive, turned my hand to off-roading in the desert and been on an occasional dhow sailing trip to Oman.
Besides being located near our major customers, both Airbus and Boeing have offices here too, so almost every day I visit either a customer or an airframer. These visits help me build deeper relationships as well as a broader understanding of future sales opportunities as customers develop their fleet plans. As an opportunity firms up, I use my knowledge to develop sales strategies and commercial offers that meet their needs and try to secure more business. Our sales campaigns can sometimes take years to come to fruition, as we’re not a fast-turnover commodity and in this part of the world it is important to have long-term relationships and consistency of approach.
It can be challenging at times, but I really relish working in a customer environment. I love the challenge of bridging the gap between ourselves and the customer, and it’s great to be able to say that with the Trent XWB we have the most fuel efficient engine flying today. It’s a proud quote I often relay to our customers.
The A350 XWB has attracted a lot of interest and orders in this region and will enter service with one of our largest Middle Eastern customers, Qatar Airways. It’s rewarding to have seen the programme through from drawing board to entry into service and it’s good to have been personally involved in the journey.