Airspeed’s Rosemarie Rafael: From ticketing agent to logistics company founder

Rosemarie Rafael, the chairperson of Airspeed, a logistics company majority owned by the Sy family’s SM Investments Corporation, has a career journey that exemplifies the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens.”

With over 40 years of experience, Rafael started her career as a passenger ticketing and reservations agent for an airline company.

Despite her dedication to the role, she encountered several challenges, including being locked out from a meeting she was ten minutes late to due to a phone cwithall a client that ran longer than expected.

However, a phone call from a freight company presented an opportunity, leading Rafael to venture beyond her comfort zone and rise through the ranks.

Eventually, she decided to set out on her own and establish Airspeed. Although her then-boss questioned why she would leave the recognized number-one company by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Rafael was confident in the growth potential of her new venture.

Within five years of its founding, Airspeed claimed the number one spot in the IATA ranking, thanks to Rafael’s commitment to building relationships with clients during the early stages of the company.

From a modest startup with six employees and a single delivery van, Airspeed has now grown to employ over a thousand skilled personnel and maintain a fleet of vehicles that can be swiftly mobilized at more than 300-strong.

Rafael’s achievements extend beyond the success of her business. She has established a formidable company in an industry traditionally associated with men and has empowered women to make key decisions.

Female leaders make up 70 percent of Airspeed’s top executives, and 45 percent hold middle-tier management positions.

As a proud mother of four, Rafael prioritizes her people and stakeholders, believing that having happy employees leads to happy and satisfied customers.