The Changi Experience

(Left - Jane Lim Hui Ting, Right - Andre Tan Kim Seang)

It is not only visitors who rave about the Changi Airport experience; the people responsible for creating this experience also enjoy every minute of their job.

Meet two officers from two different departments in Changi Airport Group (CAG) who share one common goal.

One was, and still is, a self-professed bookworm and Literature lover while the other is a microbiology major and former life sciences graduate.

Yet, despite their different interests, the duo is now in the midst of their bustling careers with Changi Airport Group (CAG).

According to the both of them, their career choice was influenced by one compelling reason – being part of the organisation that runs the world’s most awarded airport. Indeed in 2012 alone, Changi Airport has received 14 accolades given out by travel magazines and hospitality organisations contributing to over 400 accolades under their belt since Changi Airport first opened in 1981, a testament to the tireless efforts of the CAG team.

27-year-old Literature lover Jane Lim Hui Ting and 29-year-old microbiology major Andre Tan Kim Seang give us a sneak peek into their working life with one of the world’s premier airport operator.

Share with us what your role is and what it entails.

Jane Lim: I am an Assistant Manager in the Commercial Cluster and our team manages all commercial spaces such as retail, F&B and service concessions within the transit area. Our team also manages the advertising concessions at Changi Airport and organize marketing and promotions activities to enhance the shopping experience at Changi.

My role entails marketing available retail spaces in the transit area to bring in suitable brands for travellers and transit passengers with the aim of creating a delightful shopping experience for everyone.

Andre Tan: I am a Senior Airport Emergency Officer in the Airport Emergency Service Division. My division provides fire protection coverage to all aircrafts landing and taking off from the airports and air bases in Singapore. Currently, I am the Operations Commander of ‘C’ company in Changi Airport, overseeing 60 officers and 3 senior officers. My main job is to lead this team of competent officers to save lives, protect properties and return airport operations to normalcy should an unfortunate incident were to happen within these aerodromes.

I liken my role to the brave New York City firefighters who rushed to save countless people during the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The Captain of a flight that had made an emergency landing in Changi had once said, “We chose Singapore because we were familiar with it and considered it the best equipped airport in the world. Singapore's airport is a pilot dream". To ensure that we are ever ready and best equipped for any aircraft emergency in Changi, we must not fail in our line of job.

Tell us what has been your most memorable moment on the job.

Jane: Even though I have been working in this role for three years, I still get a very strong sense of accomplishment whenever I see new brands that I brought in commence operations in Changi Airport.

Over the years, I have also been given multiple opportunities to spearhead terminal enhancement projects that involve reconfiguring existing shop spaces. Although these projects are small in scale, they never fail to provide challenges and I always learn something new each time.

Andre: Back in 2008, I was the duty officer at fire station 1 when my team suddenly got activated for an aircraft emergency. While waiting for the Changi Control Tower to give clearance so that our vehicles could cross the runway to the distressed aircraft, I received more reports indicating that the aircraft’s undercarriage was on fire. At that time, many thoughts raced through my mind wondering how big the fire was and whether there will be casualty.

When we finally raced to the location of the incident, we were relieved to see that it was only an incident fire, which was quickly extinguished using a fire extinguisher. Although there was no casualty, this incident made me realise that my job has real consequences. There will be no second chance if my team and I fail to perform and this is what continues to drive and motivate me at work.

What challenges do your respective departments face to keep Changi Airport one of the best in the world?

Jane: Airports around the world, especially in the region, are becoming increasingly competitive in the travel retail landscape. While airports continue to enhance their operational efficiency, terminal layout, and shopping ambience, the travel retail brands also have a wider choice with regards to which airport to establish their presence. This means that we have to strive to provide a relevant proposition to our partners, so as to maintain our ability to attract sought-after brands to Changi Airport.

Andre: As Changi Airport continues to expand with the construction of new terminal buildings and increase in traffic, Airport Emergency Service must continue to explore and come up with new ways and innovations to uphold the performance standards we have held dearly.

The challenging part is to achieve all of these in the most cost-effective and productive way. Personally, one of the challenges is in managing people to constantly strive for culture of excellence, innovation and productivity among the line units in the team. Our people are our most important asset in our mission to be the world’s leading airport company, growing a vibrant air hub in Singapore and enhancing the communities we serve worldwide.

What are the different career tracks and training opportunities that CAG offers?

Jane: CAG offers its staff many opportunities to attend overseas and local courses and conferences such as the Tax Free World Association Asia Pacific exhibition. It also has a robust internal job rotation policy that allows eligible employees to seek transfer to other divisions.

Andre: There are many roles available in CAG, from being a Senior Airport Fire Officer like myself to running airport operations, marketing, air hub development, engineering and commercial positions. You may also be seconded to our subsidiary, Changi Airports International, for an overseas posting.

Why would you recommend a fresh, qualified graduate to join CAG?

Jane: In CAG, you can be exposed to the multi-faceted business of airport management such as airport operations and concession and commercial operations. If you are keen to work in the aviation or travel retail industry, CAG will be a good place to launch your career.

Andre: CAG operates the world’s most awarded airport and there are so many opportunities to learn and grow in this company. Be part of the very best in the world. Join us in the journey to realize our vision of Exceptional People, Connecting Lives.

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