ASCENDING TOWARDS A SOARING JOURNEY ON AIR! – MANAGING DIRECTOR OF EAM, KANISHKA WIJESINGHE

Spearheading their way into Airline GSA management, EAM (Expo Airline Management) a subsidiary of Expolanka Group logistics arm, has made a lasting impression in the aviation sector with their outstanding success through the years under Kanishka Wijesinghe, Managing Director of EAM.

As a youngster heralding from S. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia, Kanishka initially entered the airline field in 1983 as a Cargo Assistant at Air Lanka Cargo, was inspired to pursue a career once he understood the importance of the industry, “I continued to pursue my career in Aviation when I understood the important position the airlines play in the field of global logistics and supply chain management.” He gradually excelled in his position and gained relevant experience to climb up the career ladder with a passion for excelling in the career path that he chose, he ended up being promoted to the position of a Cargo Officer within the period of his tenure of 4 years at Air Lanka Cargo. It was around this time that he was approached with an offer from Emirates Airlines Cargo. “I received a job offer with Emirates Airlines cargo GSA as the airport Operations Manager, which I accepted,” said Kanishka, when he reminisced about the times of his past. As a risk taker who prospers in challenging himself, he was approached by Emirates who were quite new to the Sri Lankan aviation market at that time. “Emirates were just inaugurating their operations in Sri Lanka, and it was a big career gamble which I took leaving an established institution such as Air Lanka,” he stated. After doing his background research on Emirates before joining them, “I have always been a risk taker but, not without doing my own due diligence prior to making any important decision. It proved to be a good move in the end and Emirates grew at a very rapid pace.” A year down the line, he was offered to move from operations to head cargo sales as the Sales Manager of Emirates Cargo GSA in Sri Lanka.

Excelling in his career through his interpersonal and negotiation skills made Kanishka’s career growth plans a reality. He made sure to parallelly focus on completing several renowned supply chain managements and aviation-related globally certified training. “Being extremely career minded, I always kept pace with the industry changes and challenged myself to excel in whatever I do pertinent to my job.” In the year 1993, he was approached by Lufthansa cargo in setting up their cargo freighter operation as the Cargo Manager, “I was approached by the General Sales agents of Lufthansa cargo at that time to assist in setting up their scheduled cargo freighter operation to Sri Lanka as the Cargo Manager.” Kanishka took up this opportunity as a personal challenge for him since he felt that he was in a comfort zone and was in due of a career change. “I was in somewhat of a comfort zone with Emirates Airlines Cargo by then and a career change required a fair bit of deliberation from my side. As I mentioned before, I love challenges and I made the decision to make my move, once more,” he stated with passion.

His biggest career break came a year down the line in 1994, he was approached by the Expolanka Group with the hopes of recruiting him to oversee and manage their new venture into the airline sector. “Just one year down the line Mr. Hanif Yusoof personally contacted me and said that Expolanka is planning on establishing an Airline Division and that he would like me to join the group in setting it up,” Kanishka said. He was talented and lucky enough to land himself in the position of General Manager Expolanka Airline Management in 1994 while only at the age of 30. Within a span of three years, he was promoted to Director and in no time as the Chief Executive Officer of EAM, for which he is extremely grateful. “I received tremendous support from Mr. Hanif Yusoof the Group CEO of Expolanka Holdings, and the group finance management to grow this business to what it is today, to represent 15 well-known airline brands across 10 countries establishing our presence as one of the largest GSA management companies in the region.”

Expolanka Airline Management (EAM) believes that a competent team is crucial to smooth business operations. EAM is focused on making sure that a wholesome customer service experience is offered. “Our biggest strength is having a very competent team; at EAM we believe in having the best in the business. Our business requires people with the “right attitude” and that is the most important aspect of customer service,” he elaborated. “Our Team of professionals is the crucial link in our service excellence chain. At EAM, service excellence is not merely a cliché, but something etched and ingrained in the minds of every member of our team. You can even say that service excellence is in our DNA.” This has been one of the longstanding value propositions of Expolanka group, that backed up their professional competence and due care, “Our customer-centric mindset is solidly backed by uncompromising professionalism, extensive training, years of industry experience, and expertise in providing a world-class service.” Managing a team is a lot more than merely delegating work and enforcing policies, “As a business leader, I firmly believe in working with the team and not being aloof, winning respect instead of demanding respect, and upkeeping my pledge towards our customers by serving them to the best of our abilities. This mantra is now deep-rooted in every member of our team in a business where customer service and professionalism take utmost precedence.” He further enunciates that EAM is recognized as one of the Great Places to Work® ‘Certified’ companies in Sri Lanka.

Expolanka Group ventured into the Airline GSA Management in the ’90s with a vision of excelling in this new sector just as they did in air freight. “In 1994, Expolanka group ventured into Airline GSA management as a new business venture. As a premier GSA partner, EAM now represents over 15 International Airlines in over 10 countries in the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, Middle East, Africa, and Europe.” The success rate in the past have made EAM look forward to a lucrative future in this sector. “Owing to the immense success in airline GSA partnerships, with a “global vision” headquartered in Colombo Sri Lanka. we now provide our aviation partners bespoke, neutral, and cost-efficient services.

EAM is backed by the strong financial stability of Expolanka Holdings PLC, the parent company of EAM. With almost 30 years of highly reputable experience offering in the Aviation industry, and with an extensive network, EAM is now well positioned to cater to all business needs of our industry partners globally as a “One stop shop” offering our services as General Sales Agents (GSA), General sales and services Agents (GSSA), Passenger sales agents (PSA) and as Cargo sales agents (CSA),” Kanishka reiterated.

Kanishka acknowledges the challenges this economic crisis poses to the company and has taken initiatives to make sure that they are tackled in the right manner, “At EAM we have recognized that the industry is constantly changing and that we need to be ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. We have also understood that it is demanding for any business to survive through conventional business practices, therefore changing with the times, we have remodelled our business to face the challenges from geopolitics to technological innovation, demographic shifts to environmental concerns. Decades of our expertise in the aviation field, industry knowledge, strong alliances, strategic partnerships, and the know how of managing single/multi-country contracts have given us the much needed confidence to face the current challenges.”

Expolanka companies, known for challenging the status quo, leads with a global vision and a strategic growth plan. Their groundbreaking forefront drives innovation, growth and, change in every aspect of business; a successful formula that has earned Expolanka Holdings an unrivalled place as market leaders.

Kanishka’s past decisions in his career, right from the very beginning, proved him to be an individual who thrived on challenges. “I do not see challenges as problems but always see them as opportunities, challenges are a part of our daily life and we need to rise up strongly to face them,” he said. Kanishka concluded his account sharing a few words of wisdom with the young upcoming entrepreneurs, “Don’t have dreams, have goals with precise plans.”

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