Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity of interviewing a number of senior airline executives. Here’s one with the CEO of SpiceJet, Sanjay Aggarwal, recorded in Dec 2008, which left me mesmerized by the man’s wisdom, simplicity and frankness. These are qualities difficult to find in an airline CEO these days – and he puts them to good use too – running one of India’s most successful airlines.

Making SpiceJet one of India’s best airlines

In his interview, Sanjay reveals a number of gems that have made SpiceJet so successful. His clarity of thought is evident in this sentence:

“We want to focus on what we do well, and we will do it better than anyone else out there – which is to provide a quality, safe, clean and reliable transportation.”

Lessons from Marriott

Having worked at Marriott, Sanjay sums up its philosophy as to take care if its people, and ultimately they’ll keep the customer happy. And with 150,000 employees, they still maintain their culture. And this is the culture Sanjay is trying to re-create at SpiceJet, by “finding the right people and motivating them to deliver an unmatched in-flight experience”.

I’ll let you enjoy the succint interview. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

CEO at SimpliFlying
Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco.

Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others.

Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
Shashank Nigam
  • http://www.ultraconsultants.net Ahmed Sultan

    It is a quite achievement for an airline to start operation in mid 2005 and receive the Skytrax’s award of best Low Cost Carrier for India in 2007.

  • http://travelwordsmith.com neha m shah

    I find it fascinating what Mr. Aggarwal talks about here and I respect the carrier (I’ve flown it as have my parents multiple times). I wrote to him after my flight and, while I didn’t expect a response, I did wonder if the change was made. Here is what I wrote:
    Greetings,

    I recently flew SpiceJet from DEL – BOM and GOI – DEL
    (PNRS: N5N3BB and R3EVEL) with my mother. We enjoyed your flight service, and the cookies as well were great.

    I noticed a few grammatical errors on your seatback stickers (form RAP-SR033–I think). The first was the word, ‘flotation,’ that is spelled incorrectly as ‘floatation.’ I also noticed that the singular and
    plural forms of use are written incorrectly. Where you mention seat belt, it is correct as singular, as you
    are directing the information to one passenger. However, you made the word cushion plural in your use
    to reminding the passenger that the cushion can be used as a flotation device. It should be cushion
    instead of cushions.

    I realize that while these are unsolicited suggestions for changes to future seatback stickers, but details
    are very important to me and I felt compelled to let you know. Thank you.

    • http://simpliflying.com Shashank Nigam

      @Neha: Wow! That’s some diligent studying of the in-flight materials. I’ll email it to Sanjay and his PR team on your behalf too.

  • http://www.ultraconsultants.net Ahmed Sultan

    To: Neha M Shah
    God bless the soul of William Shakespeare.
    He was born British and died British far before the invention of airplanes.

  • Damian Scozzari

    Please. This is the same guy that helped run Flight Options into the ground in Cleveland Ohio.

  • Kunal (Bony) Sharma

    its amazing guys who sank airlines in USA are now at leading jobs world wide…same with Skybus Chief Pilot now running FlyDubai …..

  • Susan Yot

    Ihad the pleasure of working directly with Sanjay at my last company. Sanjay is a true visionary, and one of his primary talents is knowing how to lead and inspire his team to provide superior customer service to both external and internal partners. Sanjay has a unique way of making each and every employee feel valuable. The leadership lessons I learned from Sanjay were invaluable, and I would expect great things to continue at Spicejet.

  • Govind Kattayat

    Spice jet–is a low cost carrier with a longhaul goals—cheers to SPICEJET’s startegy of flying which worked out well withe majors of Indian avaition in the turbulent times of 2008

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