Matias Niemi, a Ramp Agent at our subsidiary Aviator, has recently been named the Employee of the Year in the category of Safety Guardian of the Year. And for a good reason. This award recognized Matias’s outstanding judgment, courage, and ability to react fast in an emergency, which he demonstrated in 2023. But let’s start from the very beginning.

Originally from Finland, Matias has been working at Aviator for 10 years. Reflecting on his career path and roots, Matias reveals a family connection to aviation — his grandfather’s role as a bomber pilot/navigator during World War II. Matias believes this familial link may have ignited his own interest in the aviation industry and the fulfilling career that followed. “I still remember my first day. I was very excited!” he shares.

Exploring Matias’s journey, he points out how his diverse experiences and thorough training played a crucial role in shaping his professional skills. The ability to handle different tasks and respond quickly in various situations was developed through these experiences, forming the basis for his success.

Matias’ achievements in the past year were substantial, gaining the right to operate in various positions and successfully preventing a major accident — a testament to his dedication and competence. In June 2023, Matias averted significant aircraft damage through his prompt and commendable actions. While operating a push-back tractor, he noticed cargo containers being displaced by an aircraft engine’s airflow, moving toward a taxiing aircraft. Matias swiftly drove his push-back tractor in front of the cargo containers, preventing a collision with the aircraft’s engine.

His courageous act led to him being awarded the Safety Guardian of the Year, but Matias doesn’t plan to stop there. In 2024 and the upcoming years, he intends to stay committed to continuous improvement and participation in various training courses and a focus on enhancing his language skills. Looking back on his career, Matias says he would have also advised his younger self to concentrate more on education.

In discussing the energy-demanding aspects of his role, Matias highlights the need for extreme accuracy in all of his tasks. To recharge, he prioritizes sufficient sleep, quality time with family, and engaging in physical activities like football and swimming — a holistic approach to maintaining well-being.

When asked about the three words embodying the Avia Solutions Group family, Matias says it’s “responsibility, professionalism, and flexibility.” For him, these words reflect the group’s commitment to delivering top-notch services in a rapidly evolving industry.

As a judge tasked with selecting the Employee of the Year 2024, Matias’s criteria would include “responsibility, teamwork capabilities, motivation, and a commitment to high-quality work.” These qualities, he believes, are crucial for someone deserving of such recognition within the Avia Solutions Group family.