Home Adieu Airlift

Adieu Airlift

The dreaded second week of July, 2022. Airlift decides to close all of its operations in Pakistan. It was good while it lasted.

I have been in the tech space of Pakistan since 2012. A tech space dominated by companies that run on a proven business model of outsourcing. For outsourcing, it is kindergarten math. Sell for $100, spend $40, remaining in the bank, rinse and repeat. From the run-of-the-mill in the past to testing deep, uncharted waters in Airlift, I had discovered myself as a completely different individual in 13 months. I will forever be thankful to the teammates at Airlift for challenging me and bringing out the best in me.

Going back to 2020, covid hit, travel got cheap and I landed in Istanbul for a good month in Dec 2020. This is where it all started.


Jan 2021, I was visiting my sister’s in Istanbul, Turkey. I quickly realized that she did not step out of her home to get groceries. This was my first exposure to quick-commerce. A few taps, and virtually anything landed at the doorstep within 60 mins. With the impact and the power felt, I realized there is so much we can do to improve lives with technology. My contributions to client/enterprise software quickly felt unfulfilling. I wanted to touch lives through my work. The decision had been made.

Enter Airlift:

I landed back in Karachi after a month. Naturally there was no grocery at home. We couldn’t find a place to shop at 4 in the morning. On the 17th of Jan, 2021, I downloaded Airlift and received my first order, right at my doorstep. This is where it hit me. I wanted to join Airlift. I wanted to experience it. A month later, I was interviewing at Airlift. May, 30th, 2021 was my first day as Engineering Manager at Airlift.

“I believe I can fly”

Getting into Airlift was just the tip of the iceberg but for once I felt “sky’s the limit”. In a few months, an engineer who couldn’t even decide his next project was challenging a product with feature requisitions, re-organizing teams for throughput, hiring talent and building software for scale. The aura made me feel powerful. I quickly realized that I had spread my wings and was ready to fly.

The Landing

Launching 2 countries, completing 30,000+ orders per day, it was a joy ride. As engineers, we felt pride in what we achieved through our work. We had become battle tested, ready to take on anything and everything. I term the closure of Airlift as a “Landing” because when the time is right, the “landed” will take off again.


To the people on the shore, you’d always see that the ship had sunk but what you don’t see is that each member of the crew walked out as a Captain. Airlift has transformed me into an individual who is ready to challenge the status quo. Airlift taught me to be fearless in front of failure. Airlift taught me to believe in myself and for that I will forever be grateful. Airlift is not just a product, it’s a mindset that I will carry wherever I go.

Adieu Airlift.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.