Singapore Airlines (SIA) soars through the skies as a leader in the aviation industry. With its commitment to fleet modernisation, product and service innovation, as well as market leadership, it has fast evolved into one of the world’s most renowned travel brands.
Success of the organisation lies in part with its dedicated team, all of whom live up to SIA’s core values of excellence, safety, customerfocus, care, integrity and teamwork. These values form the DNA of each employee’s work, a reminder to constantly maintain the airline’s stellar reputation in a dynamic and fast-paced industry.
The work is intense but exhilarating, and a process that continues to excite Technical Services Engineer, Alexander Lee, who was a Singapore Airlines Open Overseas Scholarship recipient.
What ignited your interest in the aviation sector?
My interest in aviation developed steadily. I have worked at SIA for more than 2 years now, and it continues to grow on me each day. Everything about it amazes me – from the multifaceted engineering issues that each of our aircraft faces, to the multitude of processes that need to be synchronised before a flight departs. There is never a boring day in the office!
Alexander Lee Huang Wei
Technical Services Engineer
Singapore Airlines Open Overseas Scholarship
Bachelor of Arts,
University of Cambridge
Master of Science,
Share with us the main roles and responsibilities in your current role.
I oversee the short-term technical health of SIA’s Airbus A350 fleet. We receive transmissions from SIA aircraft flying all over the world and if there are signs of a faulty or deteriorating component, I need to ensure that this does not affect the safe operation of the aircraft. In doing this, I also aim for flights from Singapore and other overseas airports to depart on time.
You are a Singapore Airlines Open Overseas Scholar. How did the overseas exposure and experience shape you into a better person?
Being alone in a foreign land, I had to be fully self-reliant. With my new-found independence also came the test of being disciplined enough to balance my freedom with my academic work. In dealing with the mental and physiological effects of trying to preserve a balanced lifestyle, I began to understand what is most important to me, and learned to prioritise accordingly.
Besides that, I discovered how to cope with the immense volume of study materials in a relatively short amount of time! I also learnt how to survive being among the brightest minds on the planet and to really focus on furthering my understanding of what I was learning. This experience taught me to follow my heart and delve into the topics that piqued my interest.
That sounds like a rewarding journey. How did that equip you to excel as an engineer after you returned?
The lessons from the classroom not only equipped me
with the technical knowledge I needed, but it was the
life lessons I gained from my time overseas that had
the most impact on me thus far. Most graduates, upon
beginning their working life, soon realise that very little
of what they learnt in university are utilised. Instead, to
solve issues encountered at work, I have had to leverage
on my experiences in university in facing problems which
are time-sensitive, have very little background information,
and have no textbook solutions. The demands from my
current job require me to stay calm in the face of challenges,
think fast and work well under intense pressure. This is a
soft skill that I gained from my university experience and
one that has benefited me in my current role.
For those who are considering following in your steps, what
can they expect when embarking on this journey?
Challenges and excitement! We have anywhere between 15 to 20 A350 departures from Singapore daily, and a similar number from overseas airports. Ensuring that all these planes depart on time is no simple task!
Also, the systems on board the A350 are complex. For example, if the flight crew on an aircraft report a higher than normal fuel consumption, we must first have an in-depth knowledge of all systems that affect fuel consumption – engines, flight controls and the auto-flight system – before we can proceed to troubleshoot the issue. Obtaining this information requires time, dedication and experience.
At the same time, every punctual departure is an accomplishment, and successful rectification of an observed fault is an achievement. The excitement comes when you successfully use the knowledge you have, and resources at your disposal to mitigate or better yet, prevent a potential issue. The adrenaline rush and subsequent satisfaction is something I thrive on!