Enabling excellence on board

Crew Lounge is a world-class institution for aspirants in the aviation industry

By Anthon Garcia

Published: Sun 18 Apr 2021, 1:20 PM

Last updated: Sun 18 Apr 2021, 3:24 PM

Enterprising and dynamic are underrated words to introduce Karim El-Etre, the Chief Executive Officer of Crew Lounge. Leadership is inherent in him. He is, indeed, a perfect visionary as far as excelling in the aviation industry is concerned. His rise in a field to which he was new reflects his resilience and determination, and this is why his intuition to train people in aviation is second to none.

El-Etre graduated as a mechanical engineer with a master's degree from UOW Dubai. His management aptitude has got him involved in an MBA programme with the Heriot-Watt University. But engineering was not his cup of tea, and he took a strategic decision to join Etihad Airways in 2005.

He became part of the cabin crew training department, and since then, there was no looking back for him. He rose to the Cabin Manager's accolades in 2011. He was instrumental in training more than 3,000 Cabin Crew and Ground Handling staff at the Abu Dhabi airport.

He taught evolving airlines' crew and staff, such as Air Seychelles and Jet Airways. He led them in the avenues of Leadership and Development Training. His hallmark was to train the UAE Air Force cabin crew, too. This is how he was recognised and became a sought-after name for airlines involved in upgrading and training their workforce.

His curriculum vitae is breathtaking. In 2015, he piloted a development-cum-training project with Alitalia in Rome before joining Qatar Airways in 2016, another of the Middle East's prime airlines. In Doha, he was tasked as the Performance Manager and led a team of 800 cabin crew. He delivered with flying colours in training and harnessing performance and productivity.

Malaysia was his next destination of repute. He initiated his own business on the heels of resounding successes as an inside-man exposed to different aviation industry avenues. Here, he leapt forward in emerging as an institution in himself to train aspiring potential candidates for the flying sector.

According to one of his ex-colleagues, "A precious soul with a glamourous and brilliant mind. You want to keep him close for a lifetime due to the million lessons you can learn from him."

El-Etre proudly says, "With more than 15 years of in-depth and worldwide experience, I have curated a talented team of aviation professionals. My trained men and women are today serving several leading airlines."

This is where Crew Lounge, El-Etre's brainchild institute, plays a bigger role in training aviation professionals, who are taught all the necessary leadership skills and sectional expertise. Crew Lounge today is one of the most preferred Cabin Crew Training institutes in Malaysia, which is joined by students and serving staff to graduate with a thumbs up!

Within just one year, the company went into partnership with Singapore-based airlines, Harvard, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

With so much distinction, El-Etre thought of taking his expertise to the next orbit. He joined hands with the illustrious Harvard, a name to be reckoned with. The IATA's and Harvard Leadership and Management programme is meant for perfection for all those who want to become the who's who of the aviation industry.

The world-class leadership and management diploma training, a premier on-demand learning and performance support resource programme - a subsidiary of Harvard University. 

Crew Lounge has provided job placements, consultancy, and training to hundreds of aspirants in Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, India, and the UAE. This is the most lucrative competitive edge of Crew Lounge that distinguishes it.

The Crew Lounge CEO is far-sighted to the core and didn't sit with fingers crossed as the pandemic overtook the world. "We upgraded our facilities, launched online courses, and started a new business of buying and selling retired aircrafts in Malaysia," he remarked. El-Etre also bought his own Boeing 727 aircraft and has pitched offers to purchase three Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

No wonder his ex-colleagues say that he is not afraid to take risks, thinks differently and sees things from a different perspective.

The aviation guru advises youth to lead from the front and does not shy away from committing mistakes. "This is where you get to learn and realise your potential." El-Etre also has plans to set up offices in Serbia and Egypt and kick-start a facilitation education fund in Abu Dhabi.

Crew Lounge bagged several awards, especially the IATA's Top Performing Authorized Centers in the Asia Pacific for 2019, 2020, 2021. Moreover, El-Etre is the recipient of certificates of excellence in budgeting, business plan development, career management, change management, and coaching from the Harvard Business School.

More news from Supplements