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Arvind Viswanat Q&A

Arvind image with template_India

As part of our ongoing Q&A series, we’ve been chatting to Acro colleagues based all over the world who help make our company the industry leader it is today. For our latest instalment, our focus is on the South Asia market as we catch up with Arvind Viswanat, our Sales Consultant for India.

Arvind has been working in the aviation industry for more than 30 years and has recently returned to his native India after predominantly working within the UAE throughout that time. We caught up with Arvind to find out how the decades of industry experience he brings with him is being put to good use in his role in India with Acro.

Can you tell us a bit about your career journey to date and what your current role with Acro involves?

I began my career in 1989 with Indian Airlines after completing my bachelor’s degree in engineering, before relocating to the Persian Gulf to work with Gulf Air and then with Emirates in Dubai. I spent 17 years at Emirates in various engineering and maintenance capacities, with responsibilities for both revenue and spend, which allowed me to develop a broad overview of almost every aspect of the commercial aviation supply chain. In 2018, I had the opportunity to spend some time on the military side of aviation, serving as the head of procurement for AMMROC, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi government and Lockheed Martin. I then returned to India in July 2022 to become Head of Engineering Procurement at Air India.

Now, as a sales consultant with Acro, my focus is to establish and expand Acro’s footprint in the rapidly growing aviation market of India. It’s a region which offers multiple opportunities to an expanding seating supplier like Acro, and it’s my role to help the company fulfil that potential and sow the seeds for Acro’s future success within South Asia.

How has the aviation sector evolved since you began your career?

The aviation landscape in India has dramatically transformed. We’re witnessing a massive influx of aircraft and a boom in infrastructure development. Major players like Airbus, Boeing and Collins Aerospace are enhancing their presence and undertaking major recruitment drives in India, and the Government plans to open a staggering 92 new airports in the next five years. This growth is reshaping the entire aviation supply chain, providing immense opportunities for innovation and development.

Are there elements of your work that are unique to working in the South Asia region?

The South Asian aviation market is distinct, as it is primarily driven by cost concerns and deeply influenced by local regulations. Unlike the Middle East, where operations are OEM-focused, in India, the approach is more pragmatic, focusing on cost-efficiency due to high taxation and strict rules and regulations. This environment challenges us to be more innovative and cost-effective in our solutions.

India’s resurgence globally is marked by a technically qualified, English-speaking workforce, offering a unique advantage for the aviation industry. There’s immense potential for growth but navigating cultural nuances and bureaucratic hurdles requires a strategic approach tailored to the Indian market’s intricacies.

How do you approach building relationships with new clients on behalf of Acro, especially in such a diverse market like South Asia?

Building a strong presence for Acro in India involves tapping into my extensive network and understanding the unique market dynamics. I focus on engaging with potential clients at multiple levels—from C-suite executives to ground-level teams. By positioning Acro as a viable alternative in the seating market, we’re beginning to see engagement through requests for proposals and active discussions, which are crucial for establishing long-term relationships.

How important are industry events like AIX in helping you achieve success in your current role?

Industry events like AIX are invaluable. I am a great believer in the power of personal rapport for driving business relationships and I think that’s where the prime importance of AIX lies for me in my role at Acro. The event also allows me to deepen my relationships with potential and existing clients and connect with my colleagues from Acro’s UK-based sales teams to better understand our product offerings.

It’s also a given that if Acro is going to build successful cooperation with airlines in India in the second half of this decade and beyond, then airlines and leasing companies in India must be familiar with Acro’s innovative products. AIX is the perfect opportunity for them to do just that and to see Acro’s seating range firsthand.

As this is my first AIX as part of Acro’s sales team, it presents a unique opportunity for me to immerse myself in the intricacies of selling our seating solutions. I’m eager to leverage my extensive industry knowledge and effectively communicate the value of Acro’s offerings to airlines.

What do you enjoy doing during your spare time when you’re not working?

I enjoy unwinding with Indian classical music, dabbling with the guitar and practising yoga. I’m also a fervent follower of Arsenal football club, sharing the highs and lows with my son. Having spent close to three decades overseas, I’ve found reconnecting with India’s vibrant culture and catching up with old contacts to be equally rewarding and grounding.