Simran Singh Tiwana, CEO, Star Air: The Star New Kid on the Block
Selected as India’s Most Trusted CEO 2020 in the aviation category, Simran Singh Tiwana, CEO, Star Air, a venture of the Sanjay Ghodawat Group is aiming sky high to connect the Real India.
Years of working in the industry, your contribution reflects versatility and volubility. What has influenced your decision making process at various stages?
I think life experiences and exposure has influenced the decision making. As my father was in the Air Force, I did my 12 years of schooling from 9 schools in India. Followed by Engineering, gaining Aircraft maintenance experience, learning to fly helicopters in the US, teaching helicopter flying as an Instructor and now heading the youngest airline in India. This journey and the fact that I have being there from day one has really helped.
An accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
My current project or vital part of life: Being the first employee of Star Air, the only Airline company what was started with hot desks in a co-working space in Bengaluru. Set up an airline and running it smoothly with high customer satisfaction has been the most significant accomplishment. Thanks to Mr. Sanjay Ghodawat for his vision to get into aviation, and his faith and conviction in me to perform the role of CEO, Star Air has been exceptionally successful in the business and we must of the first airline in Asia to be operationally profitable within the ninth month of starting operations.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
We grown only if the country grows. Star Air is an Organization which functions with the Motto ‘We Care’ in everything we do. Star Air along with Sanjay Ghodawat Thrust has been intensely lending a hand in many activities happening around the country, from food distribution during COVID and in Maharashtra floods to deploying helicopters in association with The Red Cross Foundation for relief activities during 2018 Kerala floods. I actually flew these relief missions myself as a pilot on one of our helicopters.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
The driving force has always been my father who inculcated the belief that anything is possible with patience and persistence. I have always believed hard work and dedication can move mountains.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
I and my family are eager to chip in for the need of under privileged and destitute. We strive to be of assistance even in terms by volunteering in events relating to community benefits, sewa.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Success for me is what we do as compared to what we achieve. Dedicated team work will always give results. I am happy where we are, being true to our customers and delivering our promise of Connecting Real India. Being able to see our customers happy and smiling, is the first big step in that direction.
We are constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. In other words, we strive to do more with less. Tell me about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
Star Air focuses on connecting the tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India. We started a service from Hubbali (Karnataka) to Hindon (Ghaziabad) which is the first of its kind in the route. Hubbali being an Industry and college populated area, students and professionals tend to travel from Hubbali to New Delhi much often and they had to travel till Pune, Mumbai or Goa to catch a flight to Delhi. With the launch of our service to Hindon from Hubbali, the cost and time misspend on the tedious journey to Delhi was over and done with. Hindon terminal is Air Force operated and we are the only airline operating from Hindon as of now. Passengers going to Delhi can also avail commute facilities like Metro which is close by. This operation has been a huge success and is also one of longest routes under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Aviation is a very serious business and possibly the most regulated. The smallest decisions made can impact safety and the bottom line at the end of the year.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has / can contribute for the same?
I believe an empowered society is one where all the amenities and opportunities are distributed equally.
Connecting Real India, our tag line. We have empowered the people from multiple tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India to stay connected with other places in a more coherent and easy way. We vision to offer a great deal to the society by launching more such new connections for the people of India. We will keep innovating and improving our business to provide maximum assistance to the customers in the coming years as well.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
Airline industry comes with a lot of regulatory constraints, which makes it close to impossible to bring about much change in the way we operate. Even then, we have been trying to be innovative with the work we do within the constraints of the regulations put forth by the industry.
I would like to retain, Our Customers! (laughs). With time, the market size for the industry is increasing. I would say Customers are the most vital strength and opportunity for our industry, so it’s best to hold on to them.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
My personal life and family time is compromised a lot because of my work. Star Air being in the initial stages of operation requires a lot of close examination of situations, micro management and the sometime harsh decision I have to make.
Whom do you owe your success to?
My Parents and my wife for their love and support.
Best thing about your job?
The Joy of Flight. I think it has been the most significant invention for mankind. This job just keep me floating in the air.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
There will always be people trying to demotivate and pull back the risk takers. Ignore them. Tremendous potential awaits in every industry no matter how challenging it may seem. I have personally learned a great deal from our Chairman, Mr. Sanjay Ghodawat. His journey has been a source of inspiration to many.