Syed Ali Shahid (Duty Manager Airside)

Working as Duty Manager Airside, Ali Shahid has learned to keep up with operational challenges in a fast-paced aerodrome environment. His commitment and dedication for what he does becomes evident when you meet him and starts talking about his work. Ali works for Dubai Airports Company. He is well respected within the airport community and among all of his colleagues and the operating partners. A soft spoken, calm and knowledgeable individual who serves everyone with a degree of reverence and assurance.

Eager to progress academically and professionally

With a pledge to progress academically and professionally, Ali has a bio enriched with excellent educational and technical qualifications. A Master’s degree in Management by Wolverhampton University, a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Executive Diploma in International Business Management, just the starting elements on a very extensive list of his credentials. These undertakings are well supplemented by an additional selection of occupational certificates and other accomplishments. In addition, a catalogue of awards and honours from employers, stakeholders and business partners complement his service to the aviation industry. 

A natural talent for languages

In my career, I was fortunate to have Ali Shahid as member of my operational team when I served with Airside Operations in the United Arab Emirates. His reputation as a very reliable employee helped me to establish with him a well-balanced professional and private rapport within a short time. His articulate mind captured my attention, especially after I realized that he has a natural talent to communicate fluently in six languages. Other than Arabic and English, he communicates with the same easiness in Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi and Balochi.  One can appreciate the importance of such linguistic ability when you consider that Ali works in a dynamic multi-ethnic setting.   

During my interview for the Airport Bureau “Industry Professionals” column, we discussed many issues, including his current role and the present situation for the industry when I had the opportunity to ask him a list of questions.

Can you briefly describe your main role and normal Duties? 

“Currently I work on shifts, as Duty Manager Airside, in a role that reports directly to the Senior Manager Airside. I am responsible for coordinating and delivering the airside elements of the daily operational plan. I also have supervisory oversight on a shift basis of the Officers Airside, ensuring that they deliver the highest levels of safety, operational performance and customer service. We do our work in line with departmental SOPs, set KPIs and by following the General Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations. Furthermore, we strictly apply the company’s corporate policies & procedures in everything we do.”

What other activities you may have to deal with during a working day? 

“The Duty Manager Airside supports the Senior Manager Airside in all emergency response and business continuity incidents. When I am on duty, I ensure communication systems work properly and the flow of information is maintained between all Airside Duty Team members.

The Duty Manager Airside is responsible for supporting the daily operation by covering the Senior Manager Airside post when needed and the Officer Airside positions as required by the business. Therefore, is critical for the Duty Manager Airside to be fully competent in relation to both of these other positions.”  

What makes your role and work stimulating?

“I am working in very interesting industry which is changing dynamically in this global pandemic. We face different and unique challenges & situations every day. I had the opportunity to work in various departments within Airport operations; almost all the departments in airport operations have different interesting situations.

What is the most difficult part in your job?

“Uncertainty due to the Covid-19 situation and the unstable performances of individuals.”

What are your professional ambitions and aspirations?

“Nothing is impossible. Timing of decisions really matter.”

Do you want to continue in aviation or change to move into another industry?

“YES, I love Aviation industry.”

What becomes apparent from speaking to Ali is that the aviation sector needs professionals like him. I can recall many times when we worked together; he was there to support others and to share his vast operational knowledge. Personally, I feel that he is a great asset to the Airside Operations department of Dubai Airports and more importantly, an advantage to his team. Individuals of Ali Shahid’s calibre have a big part to play in helping aviation to recover. His experience and vigour can be instrumental in supporting staff while he can help stakeholders to regain operational confidence.     

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