Leading from the Front
After more than 30 years working in aviation's upper echelons, Peter Pappas is now using his contacts book to great effect in a slightly different role, as Richard Rowe reports
By Richard Rowe
Last October, web-based technology provider AirSphere secured the services of what many young, ambitious companies would give their right arms for — an ambassadorial industry ‘name’ that could help open doors and assist in the next stage of the company’s already impressive business development. The arrival of Peter Pappas as Chairman of AirSphere late last year answered the question surrounding the future direction of a major industry figure following his departure as Chairman and CEO of Worldwide Flight Services. At the same time, it provided a progressive"up and come" like AirSphere with invaluable additional vision and leadership at a time in aviation when both were needed.
Celebrating its second birthday in April, AirSphere has brought to the table a web-based platform that allows airlines and ground handling operators to automate their core operational functions (see"Spheres of Influence" Sept. 2001, GSE Today). A modular, and highly functional, system of ‘spheres’ helps aviation businesses manage aviation service operations and store complex information with the click of a button. Once information is entered into the system, users can view the data from any Internet browser. According to AirSphere, a major selling point is that, with no hardware or software to purchase or maintain, the system reduces operating costs, eliminates the need for paper-based methods of communication, and allows operators to perform detailed performance analysis.
Bringing someone of Pappas’ pedigree on board is entirely in line with a company philosophy that has encouraged input from all sectors of aviation from the very beginning. Few would argue with Niv Schwartz, Founder and CEO of AirSphere, when he says that Pappas’ vast experience in the airline industry, along with his knowledge of airport operations, is likely to contribute greatly to AirSphere’s continued growth.
A glance at the Pappas resume shows just what a catch he is for AirSphere. There is little in the airline world that the charismatic Pappas has not experienced in a more than 30-year career. While much of his time has been spent as a senior executive at American Airlines, Pappas also served as President of several subsidiaries, including the AMR Consulting Group and AMR Services. As mentioned, prior to joining AirSphere, Pappas guided Worldwide Flight Services through a period of repositioning that included three significant acquisitions, and left the company as one of the world’s major ground handling players.
With his move to a service provider of a very different kind, Pappas brings with him a formidable knowledge of what makes the airline world tick. The ins and outs of airline strategic planning, operations, marketing, and sales are second nature. And, following his tenure at Worldwide, the same can be said for the world of ground handling.
Pappas is clearly as excited as Schwartz about the chance to use his industry clout."There is an attractive combination [at AirSphere] between the innovative aspects of the actual technology and the company’s clear perception and understanding of the needs of the industry" says Pappas."The company is very creative and extremely entrepreneurial with a good combination of wisdom and exuberance" Those who work with him will confirm that Pappas supplies more than a little of both.
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