Operations Analyst Joshua Tay develops digital tools that help to enhance operational excellence and flight punctuality at SIA. The SIA Open Overseas Scholarship recipient holds a BSc in Business Economics from the Stern School of Business at New York University as well as a MSc in Marketing from the London School of Economics & Political Science.
Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA) is no stranger to us. The airline has won numerous awards such as the “World’s Best Airline” by Skytrax. As a leader in providing excellence in service for customers, it works hard to continuously improve itself to stay relevant and ensure smooth operations of all elements that contribute to the passenger experience.
Helping to enhance SIA’s operations is 26-year-old Operations Analyst Joshua Tay, who was selected for the SIA Open Overseas Scholarship programme.
The bubbly and effusive scholar works in Total Mission Management (TMM), a transversal department that works with cabin crew, pilots, engineers and airport staff to improve operational excellence and flight punctuality. Based in the Operations Control Centre – a 24-hour nerve centre for SIA’s operations – he and a committed team ensure safe and on-time departures and arrivals of SIA’s flights globally.
TMM’s role is to report and analyse flight punctuality data and to develop digital tools for the Operations Control Centre, through the implementation of Agile methodology projects. In 2018, SIA’s punctuality record was 83.5 per cent and the team hopes to achieve even better results in 2019 and beyond.
How did you develop an interest in the aviation sector?
My passion for aviation started from my very first flight at 11 years of age. As a child, I enjoyed sketching designs of the interiors of aircraft cabins.
How did you come across of this scholarship?
It was probably fitting that my first flight ever was on Singapore Airlines. As the pride of the nation and a global premium brand, the aspiration to work for SIA was a no-brainer for me.
How has your scholarship helped you achieve your goals?
My current role is quite an eye-opener because we work with colleagues from departments across the company such as cabin crew, pilots and ground staff. Compared to working with just one department, I’m exposed to a lot more different business functions. While the breadth may be challenging, a holistic view of our operations is key to ensuring flight punctuality for our customers.
Do you think you benefit more from an overseas scholarship than a local one?
I treasured my time abroad for the exposure to varied experiences. I studied abroad in Prague for a semester and also attended a Summer program in Athens while pursuing my undergraduate studies in New York. I was able to appreciate the different perspectives of people from various nations and backgrounds.
What kind of support did you get from your family members?
It came as no surprise to family and friends that I chose a career in aviation. I have always been able to count on their support.
How did the overseas stint prepare you for your career?
There were unexpected challenges to studying and living abroad, but they prepared me for the working life ahead. Being a new employee with SIA, there are plenty of unexpected challenges, but I look forward to learning how to overcome them. It also helps that my teammates and bosses are very supportive mentors and have provided much coaching that enables me to cope with the challenges.
What do you think the current aviation industry is lacking; do you have some ideas to share about how to improve?
The Singapore aviation ecosystem is changing to keep up with the latest digital trends and disruptors. In the last three years, SIA has embarked on a transformation journey to become the leading digital airline by using technology to improve operations and enhance customers’ experience. More partnerships and collaborations with regulators and hub airports are key to the future growth of the industry.
What opportunities for your development does SIA offer?
SIA has a job rotation scheme for generalist executives, and each rotation presents an opportunity to be exposed to a different facet of aviation. In my current role, I am able to gain experience in digital skillsets such as digital and user experience (UX) strategy and Agile Methodology. The company has also been supportive in equipping me with relevant training and knowledge necessary for my role.
What other skillsets are necessary for your role?
Beyond digital and data competency, the ability to communicate well is a key skillset. Working in a transversal department, I frequently have to present my team’s initiatives to colleagues in other teams and occasionally, to external parties as well.
In the near future, what can you envision to achieve?
I look forward to developing a stronger understanding of the airline business and contributing more in ensuring that SIA remains the airline of choice for our customers.
What kind of traits do you need to go through this scholarship experience?
Aside from putting in the hours, passion and commitment to the work have proven instrumental. A willingness to learn from seniors and bosses has also been key to my growth.
For future aviation scholars, what advice would you give to those applying for this scholarship?
Adapt to change creatively, be willing to embrace digital trends, and persevere in the face of challenges.