Annual rings of a tree

People, Careers

3 minute read

Business narrator Gabriël Koetsier

"We have to teach the aviation industry about a whole new world."

”I am an engineer, but building win-win business relationships is where I get my energy from. I worked at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for almost 25 years, and always thought I’d stay until my retirement. I started as a Ground Engineer and worked my way up to Key Account Manager in leisure sales. In my six years in this position I nearly doubled the revenue of my accounts. After that, I went on LinkedIn to tell that after a quarter of a century at KLM, I was open to new challenges.

Portrait of a man

It only took me a week to go from not having even heard of Neste to deciding to work for the company. Everyone at Neste was so enthusiastic about the new business unit of sustainable aviation that I wanted to become part of the team building it. My main task is to help the aviation industry improve its sustainability profile by using our sustainable aviation fuel. That’s an interesting challenge, because sustainable aviation fuel is much more expensive than fossil jet fuel.

It’s not enough to just sell the products, we also have to create a name for ourselves. We have to tell the aviation industry a whole new story about the world we’re creating. We want people around the world to recognize a can of Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel, and for that to happen we need partners who are so inspired by our narrative that they want to let their customers know they are flying with Neste’s product. What an exciting challenge!

A network is knowledge, and I have a humongous network in the airline and travel industries. In this role, I get to use it for the good of the planet. That’s a huge driver. It also feels good to know I’m working towards what’s right for my children’s generation. I used to volunteer as the President for an NGO building orphanages in Sri Lanka for ten years. Now that I’m working at Neste, I can finally tell my four children about my day job with the same pride that I had about volunteering.

The year 2020 brought a surprising challenge to the aviation industry. While many companies just focus on the losses they are making in the crisis, I see Neste really focusing on taking care of its people with daily updates and real support. I wonder if it’s due to the Nordic values behind the company.

Sustainable aviation fuel will become a competitive industry in the next few decades. Luckily, Neste is the industry pioneer and has the technical potential and courage to stay ahead of the competition, for example by choosing feedstock suppliers who also look after their employees and the environment. Caring is our unique selling proposition, and that’s what more and more people are demanding, too.”