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Jamie Cassidy, Second Generation Of Working With British Airways

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Jamie Cassidy, Second Generation Of Working With British Airways


cassidy_interviewJAMIE CASSIDY, area general manager, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, British Airways (BA), has worked with BA for 35 years. In this interview, he tells FUNKE OSAE-BROWN what it takes to work with the British carrier after his father

Our appointment that sunny Tuesday afternoon was at the Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi. We had agreed to have a short business meeting, one that we are all looking forward to. The lobby was quite busy when I arrived but it was not difficult to spot the subject of my interview.

“Hello Funke. How are you doing today? I am pleased to meet you,” he greets me boisterously.

“I am fine, thank you. Good to see you too,” I answered.

The minute I saw him, I had no doubt in my mind that Cassidy is a man full of life. This was brought to fore while our chat lasted as almost every answer to my questions was punctuated with a joke.

Cassidy has worked with British Airways for 35 years, an experience he did not hesitate to describe as “fantastic”. His father used to work for British Airways, before he literarily took over the mantle, having worked first in the engineering department and later cargo, airport, cabin services, sales. He has worked in all these departments except human resources and finance.

Prior to being appointed in his current role Jamie was Head of Alliances and managed more than 20 strategic relationships for the airline. In this role he led the negotiations with American Airlines and Iberia and finalised the airlines transatlantic joint business agreement. Jamie also held the role of director at the oneworld Management Company. In 2001 Jamie joined the Brands team and during his six years in this area was integral to the development of the new First and the airlines award winning Club World cabin.

As part of his operational roles Jamie managed the retirement of Concorde from the airlines fleet.  He has also spent time in the Operation at London Gatwick and the Americas region. Jamie is a graduate of Manchester and Lancaster University and holds an MBA. He lives in Henley-on-Thames and is a keen sports fan.  His pride and joy is a 1935 Thames Slipper launch.  He is married to Ruth, proud owners of two cocker spaniels called Charlie and Georgie.

“It feels I have been in British Airways since I was seven years old,” he tells me with a broad smile. “I used to follow my father to the cockpit since I was four. The good thing about working with BA is that you have different careers working the same organisation. It has allowed me have different careers in the same organisation. I have no intention of going anywhere. I have to say the job I have got is the best in the world.”

Having worked with BA for 35 years, Cassidy is not wrong to say he is got one of the best jobs in the world. He has been recently appointed the area general manager, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa for British Airways. Clearly, his hard work has helped him to set a good career path and growth in the airline business.

In spite of his promotions and experience, Cassidy agrees that the airline has been through many challenges but the last ten years have birthed a remarkable growth for the carrier. “I can actually say it has never been any better. We have been through so many ups and downs. The last ten years or so Have been really, really good. We have been a very successful organisation and last year the IAG group that owns British Airways Has the highest performing shares in the Stock Exchange in the UK. British Airways Shares Is one of the highest. In couple of weeks, we are going to announce our annual profit. There will be better result.”

According to him, the share price reflects what is happening in BA’s at the moment as the airline is increasing its capacity in Africa. “It is a very exciting time. We are spending 78 pounds every minute on investing in new planes. We have just recently take delivery of some A380 planes. We are also going to take delivery of Boeing 787 This year. We are investing Also in acquiring new aircrafts for our routes in Africa. In total we are getting twenty new air craft this year that is a huge investment. In terms of Africa, this year, we are putting A380 on the Johannesburg route, in Kenya we are increasing capacity. In Ghana, we are also putting bigger planes on the route. In almost all the countries in Africa, British Airways is investing in growth. It shows how important we see Africa.”

On BA’s investment in Nigeria, Cassidy says BA plans to cash in on the investment opportunities that are opening up in the country and West Africa in general. “Nigeria feels like India,” he says, “big population, very energetic, very enthusiastic. You can actually feel the vibrancy. One of the things we are planning to do in Nigeria is to expand our operations. I was with the High Commission and he is positive about the future of Nigeria and West Africa in terms of investment in businesses. It is a very good signal for us in terms of the future.”

In addition he explains BA is launching a business platform as it is working with aviation colleges in Nigeria to train students. “We are going to sponsor some Nigerians who will be working in our offices about six students to the UK. They will work on our terminals in the UK. This should be launched in a few weeks. Many of the aviation students may never have been on a plane before, so we are going to nurture them on different areas of aviation business. They will be pioneers of the new future of aviation in Nigeria.”



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