An Interview with
Santosh K Sharma
Cofounder & CEO
Foresee Aviation Pvt Ltd
Foresee Aviation was formed in 2011 which is one of India's most reliable and professional Private Jets & Helicopters aggregators. We deal in aircraft & helicopter charter services and aircraft & helicopter sales & purchase. Some of our recent accolades and recognitions include the Best Air Charter company in North India (by DDPL), India Best 5000 MSME Award (for outstanding contribution to the General Aviation industry), 50 Fabulous Leaders Award 2020.
Now, Foresee Aviation is venturing into a new era of digitization and disruption with the latest app “Book My Jet”. The soon-to-be-launched app is the single national-level platform for private jet booking. It is easy, transparent, and provides a convenient booking service. With “Book My Jet”, you can book a private aircraft of your choice with just the click of a finger and at a price that fits in your budget. The model is currently under test and would be launched very soon in the market.
1 October 2020
Tell us about your background, and what are you most passionate about?
I hail from a typical middle class Indian family. I did my schooling from Gulmohur High School, Jamshedpur. In 1997 I moved to Mumbai to do my Graduation with Economics. I am an Economics Gold Medalist from RD National College. In 2001, I shifted my base to Delhi to complete my Masters in Marketing & HR from IIPM.
Before joining aviation industry in 2005, I have been a research consultant to some private and government organisations. I have also worked for an advertising agency & film production house.
I was in love with the aviation industry even before I stepped my first foot inside an aeroplane. I am passionate about helping budding entrepreneurs to connect with their strategic parters across globe.
Describe a time you had to make a tough decision (e.g. budget cuts, organizational restructuring, market withdrawal, etc.). What did you do and what was the result?
In all these years of our existence in the genera aviation industry, we have never gone for any budget cuts or market withdrawal. But yes, organisational restructuring is something we did during this pandemic time. We had to get rid of few employees in sales department. But what we did at the same time is to hire couple of employees in the marketing & operation department.
As a result of our aggressive marking campaigns, we have seen a considerable rise in the queries & also the conversions has been increasing comparatively. We are reaching out to our existing and potential clients through various marketing exercises through our CRM system as this market is going to see a boom in years to come.
How would others define your communication style? Do you prefer to be close to your employees or maintain a healthy distance, and why?
I am a strong believer of "Open & Transparent" Communication. In this way, you are able to communicate your intention clearly to your subordinates so that they all can work in the same direction. What is also more important for me is that I try to listen to their points without passing about judgements towards the same.
I prefer to create some kind of balance in my dealing with my employees. I change my approach subjected to the issue or time as this is very critical to create a high conducive working atmosphere in the company.
How has the industry been changing in recent years? What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?
There has been a remarkable increase in the demand of private jets in India & thus demand has further increased especially during this pandemic time. The primary reasons behind it are safety, security and social distancing. Today, more U& more people are opting for private aircraft due both for business as well as leisure purpose.
There are quite a few challenges associated with this industry. For example, there is a requirement for greater number of airports with upgraded physical and technological infrastructure. General Aviation industry also needs a separate monitoring and facilitation agency and lots of help by the government. Many activities like procuring a private jet or obtaining a permit for the operator require huge paperwork and permissions from various members of the bureaucracy, making the whole process time-consuming and excessive slow. Moreover, the compliances for General Aviation are normally treated similar to commercial airlines and charged high rates of service taxes and custom duties. This escalates the price of private charters. There are also infrastructure issues at small airports like lack of hangers and inadequate night-landing capabilities. This leads to restricted timings for private charters. I hope with a rise in demand of private jets these issues would be addressed and overcome.
What personality traits make a good leader?
1. Excellent & Effective Communicator
3 Transparent & Straight forward
4. Initiative taker
5. Ability to delegate
What does the future hold for your company?
With the considerable increase in demand for private jets and helicopters in India, we are looking at a brighter future for our company. Also, our new technology platform - BookMyJet is going to change the way clients go about booking a private aircraft. This application intends to supply all information pertaining to the private jet hiring in India. We plan to take it global subsequently.