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Royal Jordanian pilot Seif Sabe Eleish dreams of running an airline

Engineering grad plans to return to Concordia for aviation management training
June 13, 2023
By Julie Barlow, MA 94

Portrait of a man wearing a pilot's uniform at the controls of an aircraft Seif Sabe Eleish, BEng 17, knew from a young age that he wanted to study at Concordia.

Seif Sabe Eleish, BEng 17, leaves nothing to chance. “I want to end up as a CEO of an airline company,” says the graduate of Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, who majored in civil engineering, with a specialization in infrastructure.

That was Sabe Eleish’s first step towards reaching his goal. After graduation, he returned to his home in Jordan to train as a pilot. He now serves as first officer with his country’s national Royal Jordanian Airlines, flying to Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Baghdad and Dubai, among other destinations.

The next step for Sabe Eleish is to return to Concordia in the coming years to pursue a Management Certificate in Civil Aviation at the John Molson School of Business.

“With those certificates and with experience in the aviation sector, I believe I can make it,” he says.

Refining and developing skills

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when airlines were all-but grounded, and the 28-year-old pilot’s career was on hold, Sabe Eleish looked for even more ways to build the skills he hopes to use some day running an airline. “I used the time to complete a certificate in aircraft design. It gave me basic idea about the model of the aircraft.”

He also took an online course on contact tracing. “In the early days, we didn’t know what kind of virus we were facing. I wanted to understand if the filters used in aircraft were effective enough. It turns out they remove around 99 per cent of the germs in the aircraft, so it’s recirculating air, which means the air does not stay the same.”

Sabe Eleish says he knew he wanted to study in Montreal, and was drawn to Concordia because of the quality of its engineering program. He also had a personal connection to the city, where he travelled regularly with his family as a kid. “I have a picture of myself sitting in front of the John Molson School of Business when I was 12 or 13!”

One of the most valuable things Sabe Eleish retains from his university days, he says, was a lesson in time management, which he learned the hard way. “I once slept late for a final exam on thermodynamics. I ran to the university but I was one minute past the deadline for taking the exam,” he says. “I was able to take the exam, but I definitely learned what difference a minute can make! After that I appreciated every single minute after going to Concordia.”

Living in Montreal instilled in Sabe Eleish another passion: a healthy lifestyle. “In the five years I lived in Montreal, I walked everywhere. I never used Ubers, taxis or buses. I also worked out at 6 a.m. every single day with no days off. It was a big change for me after growing up in Jordan. I learned that one of the most important things to keep in life is your health.”

Sabe Eleish plans to put these lessons to use in his envisioned career as CEO of an airline company. “I want to reduce working time for everyone at the airport. It’s a question of security. When people are tired, they risk making mistakes. I want to shorten shifts for all workers at the airport.” 

He also wants to improve runway security by increasing inspections. “Maybe it will take more money, but safety is the most important investment.”

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