As a relative newcomer to the aviation world, Mammen Tharakan says he finds himself fascinated by the unexplainable passion he has for the industry. He does sometimes joke, however, that his career in aviation started before he was a teenager because he was often called upon for his calligraphy skills to pen the certificates of graduating pilots from the flying school in Doha, Qatar where he grew up.
He started in the business 10 years ago, with a handling company in Toronto, where he quickly learned all aspects of flight handling including customer service, ramp operations, weight and balance, flight planning, crew management , etc. And along the way he’s learned that he likes working hard to motivate a team and lead them to success. His efforts have paid off, and he was promoted in short order to manage all aspects of station operations which took him to a few other airports in San Francisco, Vancouver, Dallas and Calgary.
Currently, he is the manager of Air Service Development for the Calgary Airport Authority, which operates the Calgary International Airport —one of the fastest growing airports in the country that is currently in the middle of a $2 billion expansion project. In this role, he oversees the multi-level relationships with the airport’s airline partners, as well as tourism, government and industry partners to help the airlines be successful and allow them unhindered growth, so as to expand the air service network of Calgary. Tharakan takes a holistic approach to working with the airlines, coordinating cross-functional projects that affect their operation at the airport.
Tharakan is a new addition to the Calgary Airport Authority as of February of 2013, working with Air France-KLM as a station manager prior to that. In that role he was tasked with opening the Calgary station and the challenge of re-establishing the KLM brand in Calgary in 2009. While a member of the Calgary airport community, he worked tirelessly to enhance the experience of the passengers and improve safety and efficiency through simplified processes. While chairman of the Calgary Airline Operators Committee, he introduced initiatives that strengthened the airline-airport relationship, and continue to bring benefit today.
“I’m a strong believer in the idea that you are only as strong as your team. I worked hard to build a customer service focused team from the ground up that was recognized when Calgary won a global award for the highest Customer Satisfaction level in the entire Air France and KLM networks.”
MAMMEN THARAKAN, Manager-Air Service Development, Calgary Airport Authority