As from August 6th, Ramiro Sequeira is TAP’s new Chief Operating Officer (COO), arriving in Portugal with a vast professional experience in aviation, including 12 years in the IAG Group (British Airways and Iberia), where he performed operational functions.
Interviewed by TAP News, he speaks about his priorities for the national airline, his plans and the challenges he expects to face.
Who is Ramiro Sequeira? What's his story?
I am 37 years old, married with a son. I have lived the last 13 years in Spain (Barcelona and Madrid), a country that I decided to try after the first steps in aviation in Portugal, where I was handling agent and Operations Officer.
What distinguishes you and what is your professional career? How does this project at TAP fit today in your professional history?
I embraced the Vueling project when the company had only 13 aircraft. In a moment of good winds for aviation, the company grew up to more than 100 aircraft (after the merger with Clickair) and I grew up with it, especially in the Operations Area, where I was OCC Deputy Director and Schedule Senior Manager. It was during this period that I had the opportunity to obtain the Flight Dispatch License FAA (Miami) and an EMBA (Barcelona).
After six years I was invited to be part of the start-up team, whose goal was to create a new company – Iberia Express, where I was OCC Director for three years. Lastly, the opportunity to be part of the Iberia transformation team arose, after the merger with British Airways, and there I combined two functions simultaneously – Crew Planning & OCC Director.
I think my career summary is defined through learning of what an airline is, in its different states – merger, start-up and transformation. This experience, along with effort and dedication, makes me feel prepared for the big challenge and responsibility which is to be TAP’s COO.
How did you see TAP before arriving at this Company and how do you see it today?
I saw – and see – TAP as a reference in the aviation world. However, today the evolution is constant, and the competition is more and more prepared. This is why I think the real challenge is to take advantage of the great experience that exists in the Airline and to have the adaptability and flexibility that the market demands.
You are TAP’s new Chief Operating Officer, reporting directly to the CEO. What are the challenges you expect to find (and already met, since you started at the beginning of August) and how do you intend to face them?
I believe that TAP is in a process of transformation and this word itself has two sides – the side of change/uncertainty, which must be managed with assertiveness and dialog, and the side of opportunities/growth, which must be lived with determination and positivism.
I often say that the challenges are faced with "BEM" (in Portuguese, “GOOD”)- Good Sense, Effort and Methodology.
What are your goals and expectations about the job and what do you consider critical to be able to achieve them satisfactorily?
I hope to help improve TAP's punctuality indexes (“D15”, which means that a flight is considered punctual if it departs 15 minutes earlier or later than the scheduled time). However, the success will depend on several factors/processes and especially the coordination of several areas and people. In this sense, it is critical to establish a clear plan for improvement and count with the collaboration of everyone, internally and externally – crews, handling, maintenance, offices, services, airport, authorities, etc. In other words, each and everyone.
At the same time, and considering the highly competitive market that I mentioned, we must be "productivity & cost minded", implementing measures that will help us to be efficient, considering the costs of all the decisions we make. Safety, for me, is "like breathing", in other words, something that must always be present in all processes and decisions, in a natural way.
From your experience of previous years, what do you think will be most useful for TAP?
The customer appreciates many factors, from the moment they purchase a flight until they arrive at their destination, but it is proven that one of the main factor is punctuality. The NPS (tool that measures the customer’s satisfaction at each stage of the journey, focusing on several factors of the same) of any airline establishes a direct correlation between both indicators and, as much as we do things well in other aspects, a bad punctuality may jeopardize the recommendation and repetition of the experience. Every minute counts and, therefore, I would like the goal of leaving to the nearest to D15’ to be an «obsession» shared by everyone.
On the other hand, I hope that the last four years focused on crews and labour relations, as well as the knowledge gained in multidisciplinary projects (A-CDM, Operating Systems, Business Analytics, etc.) in which I was involved, will be an added value to TAP.