Riccardo Squitieri heads up the Operations Team for Q8 Aviation. Q8 is a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum International, the international arm of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. The KPC Group manages all of Kuwait’s oil interests and is one of the world’s leading oil producers with the 6th largest global oil reserves.
Riccardo's role involves visiting a lot of international airports, as well as attending regular board meetings around Europe. He shares his seasoned business traveller tips from his many years of travelling across the globe.
Q.1 Can you describe what your company does?
Q8 Aviation primarily operates as members of company boards, focusing on the crucial task of overseeing fuel handling at airports. Our core operations revolve around handling, storing, and transporting jet fuel for aircraft. We set the direction and monitor various aspects of company performance, including operational, financial, and health and safety, just like any other business.
These companies are joint ventures with my company, Q8 being one of the shareholders, and the other joint ventures involving oil companies. We have a presence in airports all over Europe, equipped with storage tanks and fuel transport trucks. Our role as directors involves attending board meetings and ensuring these companies are efficiently managed.
Q.2 Does your job role require a lot of travelling Riccardo?
Yes, indeed. The Q8 team frequently travels throughout Europe, including France, the Netherlands, and Germany, where our companies are based. Personally, I also travel to Thailand, where we own a storage depot. Travel is a significant part of our work, especially because we need to attend face-to-face board meetings.
Q.3 What is a typical journey like for you when you travel to these countries?
I try to consolidate meetings to minimise back-and-forth travel, reducing the frequency and extending the duration of each trip. A decade ago, I used to take multiple individual trips with early morning departures and late-night returns. However, I've found the consolidated approach to be more efficient and comfortable.
Q.4 Does this approach also factor in work-life balance?
Absolutely. I now have adolescent children, so being home and avoiding overnight stays abroad is a priority for me.
Q.5 What's your perspective on business travel's role in achieving your company's corporate goals, considering the rise of virtual meetings?
I believe that virtual meetings have reduced some business travel demand. However, our department performs technical inspections for fuel handling companies, so business travel is vital. We must ensure that jet fuel is handled correctly to prevent aircraft issues or accidents, necessitating our on-site presence. That can't be done virtually.
Q.6 You must have some travel tips or hacks Riccardo, considering your extensive experience of business travel.
Yes, I do have some to share. For example, hair-raising experiences often occur during taxi rides when drivers fall asleep or drive recklessly. Using taxi apps has been a game-changer, eliminating communication barriers in foreign countries.
Q.7 Any more?
Avoid early morning flights if possible, and consider arriving the night before to ensure you're well-rested for morning meetings. Travel light, skip alcohol and meals on planes, and, if travelling business class, choose seats away from the galley for a peaceful flight.
Also, consider direct evening departure flights for long-haul trips, even if they cost more. Connecting flights can be lengthy and stressful, especially in crowded airport lounges.
Thank you for sharing these valuable insights and travel tips, Riccardo.
You're welcome. I hope they are helpful for newcomers embarking on their business travel journeys.
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