How does the company determine which aircraft we fly, and how are our destinations chosen? Today I catch up with Filipe Salgado, who works as a Senior Route and Network Analyst here at Monarch. Part of his job will answers these questions!
Hi Filipe! First off, tell me a little about you. Where are you from, and how did you join the aviation industry?
I am an Olisipo (first name of Lisbon around 800–600 BC) born and bred guy.
I have always been interested in technology as far as I can remember. All my studies were based on that path and I went on to graduate in Computer Sciences and Business. I quickly realised that professionally, IT was not for me so after spending three to four years in one of the big consultancy firms, I opted for a somewhat radical move to Business Management.
This allowed me to move abroad for the first time to join easyGroup and the Car Rental industry. After five years, I decided to move back to Portugal to join Hertz as Head of Revenue Management (where I acquired the roles of Head of Reservations and B2B Project Management). I managed three brands across two countries plus a lot of people and absolutely loved it (cars are one of my main passions). Still, the desire to join the aviation industry was there and I felt I needed to try it. I eventually decided to downgrade in terms of career so that I could enter the industry and I’m absolutely loving it!
If your friends described you in three words, they would say…
Honest, generous and loyal. I didn’t write this one… indeed I called a friend! 🙂 Can I ask the public now?
When did your passion for aviation start?
I don’t really know. I believe that it is part of my love for technology. Aircraft are highly technological machines. This combined with the fact that it moves the world forward with the ability to make a difference in peoples’ lives, makes it highly appealing.
Why did you choose to work in Network Development?
I wanted chance to see first-hand the impact that the decisions made in this area have on the company as a business was a big motivation. I like being able to work in areas where you can steer the development of the business and have an immediate glance at the results of those decisions.
And of course the possibility of knowing the aviation industry from the inside and being to help with the decision of new routes and destinations – where millions of people will enjoy the journey and get in touch with new ideas and cultures.
What made you want to work for Monarch?
Monarch is one of the best companies in the market. I have always had an idea that this company was committed to quality over quantity, more concerned with passengers and what they want rather than just seeing them as numbers and in that sense, offering a more personalised service. I wanted to work in a place that strives for excellence to help improve it even further.
How long have you been working for Monarch?
I joined in January 2014, so exactly three years ago but it feels like yesterday…This is not long when working in a new industry and I am sure I know very little yet – there is still a lot to learn and process. I wish for a long career in this area and to be able to have an impact and make many more changes in order to adapt to the fast-paced nature of this industry.
What does your day-to-day job consist of?
One cannot talk about day-to-day tasks in this department. Every day is different with new challenges and possibilities! I can get to the office in the morning and have to create a view on potential new flying programmes or destinations, or get to decide on alternatives for critical and unexpected situations like the closure of Sharm-El-Sheik or Tunisia.
In a nutshell, we decide where Monarch flies to, when and with which aircraft type based on financial performance and development of the routes. We can divide this in two big lines of thinking:
- Short-medium term, where we design the flying programme for the next season
- Long-term strategy planning. Where does Monarch want to be in five years’ time and how to get there? Which new destinations to choose? When to launch them?
We also meet with airports on a regular basis and check on market potentials, customer types, build business bases (we cross check several information sources and measures like aircraft size, flying costs, number of potential passengers, market, yields, airport costs, etc.) and present recommendations for the company directors to decide.
What are some of the challenges of the job?
Some of the challenges are working with the data we have (sometimes we have a lot of it, sometimes very little); planning ahead without knowledge of competitors’ strategy; and trying to understand why a particular flight might not be successful and to find a way to improve it or find suitable alternatives.
What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?
To know that every time our aircraft take-off, some of my work enabled our passengers to go on their chosen holiday, family reunion, culture sampling or simply a business trip.I feel and believe that I’m responsible for helping with the decisions on where Monarch is going to fly next. I also love when we introduce a new route and/ or destination and it becomes successful.
What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?
My goal is to continue to surpass myself and my achievements for the benefit of the company. To have the possibility to innovate and introduce something new. I also love the company environment, the colleagues (it’s a melting pot here!), and the possibility to grow and face new challenges every day.
What do you love the most about it?
Seeing the routes that I helped to develop and grow proving a safe bet. I also love taking Monarch to new places and making a known brand.
What are some of your proudest achievements?
Seeing the launch of my hometown, Lisbon, as a new route for Monarch! Knowing the potential as a city break destination and how well it would fit with the new year-round strategy confirmed it was a perfect choice. Seeing its potential for growth makes me very proud indeed!
Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours?
Be committed and dedicated, with a passion for aviation and determined to succeed. Be able to adapt to a light speed paced environment!
Thank you for your time, Filipe! And finally…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?
My hometown Lisbon of course! There are many others as well but I am going to say Tel Aviv for its peculiarity and difference from other European destinations.