GSA Belgium: A new day, a fresh challenge

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As sales and marketing manager of Inter Aviation Services B.V.B.A., Finnair’s new GSA in Belgium as of June 2015, Esther Romar is anticipating a dynamic and fruitful partnership between the two companies.

Every new day, a new challenge: that is life for Esther Romar in her key role with Finnair’s new GSA at one of its most important destination countries outside Finland. The Belgian capital, Brussels, is a crucial cargo base for Finnair Cargo as well as a busy passenger station handling three daily Finnair flights.

“The fact is, I have never worked for another company,” says Romar. “I graduated in 1999, went backpacking in Australia in 2000, and started at IAS on May 1, 2000. I studied commercial economics, and the last two years of my studies took a more specific direction towards international management.”

A traineeship in an international environment was a requirement in her studies, and this led to Romar’s placement in the airfreight industry with IAS.

“We only became GSA for Finnair in June this year, so I’m still forming an impression of the airline and my Finnair colleagues,” she explains. “We have added Yves Buekenhout to the team to assist with the daily customer service and internal sales activities, and Xavier Dassen to handle the commercial activities with customers.”

Open and direct approach

IAS had no previous experience of working with Finnair. “I was introduced to Anja Pöyhönen, sales director for continental Europe, a year ago, and immediately discovered a polite, open, and direct approach. Now I realize this approach is at the heart of the whole Finnair organization and we really appreciate that.”

Belgium, and specifically Brussels Airport, is a highly innovative and creative environment, says Romar, and constantly looking into new developments aligned with trends in the airfreight industry.

She believes that Finnair’s strategy is on par with this approach. As an example she refers to the interest in and development of pharma-related activities. 

“Finnair’s recent achievement of being the first airline with the CEIV certificate is highly innovative. So is the announcement of opening the new high-tech cargo terminal at Helsinki Airport with a separate, temperature-controlled area divided into different temperature ranges.”

Every day is an opportunity

Swissport handles Finnair at Brussels, and Romar praises the smooth operation and loyal working relationship of this company with Finnair. Weekly cargo totals passing through Brussels average between 60 and 70 tonnes. Commodities carried vary from goods for the automotive industry and dredging and mining equipment to Belgian chocolate, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. 

“I have always looked from a distance and admired the close relationship between Brussels Cargo Airport and Finnair. It’s quite unique,” she says.

And a typical day as Finnair GSA? Apparently there is no such thing: “It’s very hard to say,” says Romar with a laugh. “Every day is different and brings its own opportunities and challenges.”

Best of both worlds

“If you look at the map of the Netherlands and Belgium, you could say from a geographical point of view that I originate from The Netherlands because I come from Maastricht,” says Esther Romar. “However, both countries see the region of Maastricht as a different ‘culture’ that doesn’t belong to either. The way I see it, growing up there has given me the best of both worlds!”

Romar is satisfied with a healthy balance between work and family—that is her husband and two children—and her social life and sports activities. 

“I am passionate about both the airfreight business and my family, so I’m very satisfied with my life as it is. I’m fanatical about sports, but I always try to find time for my friends as well.”

Travel tips: visitbelgium.com

Text by Tim Bird

 

Published July 30, 2015

Category: Local features, Finnair Cargo

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