Aisha Javid is an operations manager at IAG Cargo. Find out what her job entails, why she loves it, and how she worked her way up.
What do you do as an operations manager?
I manage the day-to-day shifts. I have two teams, clerical and operational. The operational team works in the warehouse, building the freight that goes on the planes and breaking the freight that comes off the planes. The clerical team is responsible for planning that work.
How long have you worked in your current role?
Since October 2020.
What is your favourite thing about logistics?
There hasn’t been a month that I’ve come to work and not been amazed at what we’re shipping. From a live heart to a shark and Covid equipment. It’s all so exciting and different.
Sometimes as I’m driving into work, I’ll see our aircraft fly over me, and I still get that strange butterfly feeling. It’s knowing that in this building at Heathrow, there’s so much going on.
We’ve got drivers, specialists handling dangerous goods, people building freight and delivering art to handling the country’s mail. You can walk a couple of metres out of your office and end up in a completely different world.
What does your average day look like?
It depends on what kind of day it is. It sounds really cliche, but no two days are the same. Sometimes my day is spent helping people, from operational challenges to development requests. We’re not just managers: we’re friends, and colleagues – we have a listening ear.
Other times, it’s finding creative solutions for our customers. The time in between we use to support colleagues. It’s about being present, leading and engaging with the teams, and encouraging them to perform as efficiently as they can.
How many people do you supervise?
I could have up to five team leaders with a team of six each, so the maximum is 35.
What do you love most about your job?
The people. I love working with people from all walks of life, different ages, backgrounds, and life experiences. It makes the job really fun and challenges me to be the best manager possible.
How did you get into the industry, and why?
I’ve been in aviation since the early 2000s. I started in security management at Heathrow Airport Limited. I enjoyed my job, but I peaked at what I did and then I discovered IAG Cargo. I had done the customer-facing side of things, and I wanted to look at the other side, something more logistical and in a warehouse environment.
What excites you about aviation?
Anyone that knows me knows that I love to travel. My favourite thing about the industry is travelling, working here with a flexible roster and flight benefits, and seeing all the new aircraft we get.
What has your career progression looked like at IAG Cargo?
I started at IAG Cargo in June of 2019. I worked in a department looking after Secure cargo – precious items from money to diamonds, and paintings. From there, I did a sideways move.
When Covid happened, there was an opportunity to shuffle around, and I saw the chance to learn something new and develop. I decided to take this latest opportunity and am so glad I did.
What tips do you have for people looking to move up in the industry?
It’s important to understand the bigger picture. A lot of people focus on their short-term goals and have tunnel vision. Don’t just think about the role you’re doing. Everything has an impact, not just on our department, but cross-functionally.
Spend time outside of your department. Take a walk to see what else is out there and get to know people. If that means spending time shadowing or learning about a different department, do that.
What do you want people to know about the industry?
Cargo is so underrated. It’s a hidden industry that people don’t often think about yet incredibly rewarding and fun.
There are so many departments, whether you want to do something clerical or hands-on, a driving role or a role in HR or finance – it’s like a village within itself. Cargo is a fantastic place for apprentices, graduates, and people just starting their careers, looking for a change, or looking to end their careers on a high. I really urge people to give it a go.
For current job openings at IAG Cargo, please head here.