Q&A with Russi Batliwala, Group Chairman of Chapman Freeborn

posted on 6th November 2020 by Eddie Saunders
Q&A with Russi Batliwala, Group Chairman of Chapman Freeborn

Q Chapman Freeborn is a global business these days, would it be hard for a young Russi to develop in the same way now?
A “I hope not. Being given the freedom and ability to be creative helped me get the business to where it is today, and we still like to create an environment in which employees feel empowered and supported – and have the freedom to be creative to ‘get on and do it’. It’s an important part of our culture and we have incredible staff retention levels; a lot of employees have been with us for a long time.”

Q What do you think would make the industry attractive to a young up-and-coming worker now?

A “In the aviation and specifically the charter industry, no one day is ever the same. We have a huge variety of aircraft; we have a large number of customers and so many different situations – and those situations are never the same. So, if that excites you this is the industry to be in!

Whether we’re helping people affected by natural disasters or looking after the requirements for VIPs on private jets, it’s always something different and there’s always something new to learn. As a truly global business there are also huge opportunities for our people to experience new challenges in different areas of our business.”

Q Do you have a favourite moment in your career, looking back over the last 33 years?
A “The first time the charter industry started handing out awards for the best aviation broker we received the award – and for several years following that as well.

I remember when we received the award for the first time, it was it was a great moment for me, I was very proud for all our teams across the world; it was a monumental experience.

Also, I celebrated my 30th anniversary with the group not that long ago, and they organised a party for me inside a 747 freighter. The nose door was open, there were tables inside with something nice to drink, and the outside of the plane was decorated. That was very special.