A airline district sales manager oversees all of a district’s reservations and ticket sales offices, and the sales representatives in that district. Sales representatives promote their airline to businesses and organizations in an effort to sell cargo space and plane tickets. In most cases, district sales managers work off-site in an office building. Typically, district sales managers will also participate in social events outside of working hours in an attempt to make business contacts and generate or follow up on sales leads. A district sales manager has the role of supervisor but also must maintain his or her customer relationships.
Many enjoy working as a district sales manager because of the fast pace and added responsibility of holding a senior position. The airlines industry is exciting, and many enjoy working behind the scenes. District sales managers have the opportunity to move up within the company and gain additional territory with a commensurate salary increase. They may eventually be promoted to national sales manager or even higher.
An airline’s financial health relies greatly on the sales of both plane tickets and cargo space. It’s up to the district sales managers to ensure that their team reaches their projected sales goals. As with any management position, a district sales manager must also motivate their employees as well as train, reprimand, or reward staff as appropriate.
In most cases, district sales managers are promoted from within the airline company from the ranks of the most successful sales representatives. In addition to sales experience, extensive knowledge of the aviation industry is a plus, as is previous management experience. Those with experience in related fields such as advertising and public relations, or previous work as a purchasing agent is also preferred. Excellent communication skills, self-motivation, and the ability to be a team player are also important.
To obtain a position as a district sales manager, at minimum a BA or BS degree is required, though a Master’s degree in Business Administration is preferred. Area of study should be journalism, advertising, marketing, communications, or a combination of these disciplines.
The airline may provide an internal sales training program to cover management skills, corporate philosophy, and company strategies for the sales force. On-the-job training may also be involved.
Salary and Benefits
The annual salary of district sales managers ranges from $70,000-$80,000 per year. Benefits may include paid vacation and holidays, insurance, retirement plan, discounted or free airfares.