Singapore Airlines
Feature | Singapore Airlines

Charting Flight Paths to Success

Singapore Airlines (SIA) Scholar Faris Amin’s role as Assistant Manager in the Treasury department goes beyond traditional financial management. With a focus on optimising working capital, refining cash strategies, and overseeing risk exposure, Faris spearheads pivotal projects to not only ensure SIA’s financial robustness but also contributes to fostering deeper human connections and crafting an unparalleled consumer experience at one of the world’s leading airlines.

Faris Amin is an Assistant Manager, Treasury at Singapore Airlines. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Warwick and a Master of Science in Economics and Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a recipient of the SIA-Mendaki Undergraduate Scholarship.

The impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry has been monumental, separating families, halting experiences, and challenging airlines worldwide. For Singapore Airlines (SIA), a prestigious flag carrier renowned for being one of the world’s best airlines, navigating this challenging period demanded innovative solutions. As Assistant Manager in SIA’s Treasury department, Faris Amin’s role is instrumental in devising effective strategies during these turbulent times.

Amidst the pandemic’s upheaval, Faris also embarked on initiatives such as implementing same-plane services, repurposing passenger planes for cargo-only flights, and pioneering vaccinated travel lanes in his previous roles. These initiatives, tailored for a diminished audience and a constrained budget, yielded promising outcomes.

Faris’s journey to his pivotal role today is as inspiring as his contributions. As a recipient of the SIA-Mendaki Undergraduate Scholarship, he pursued a Bachelor of Science at the University of Warwick and a Master of Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

We chat with him to learn more about his inspiring path to success with SIA.

What sparked your interest in Economics, leading to your subsequent career path with Singapore Airlines?

Economics was the only subject that piqued my interest after graduating from Junior College. Amongst the array of subjects, it stood out as more than just a course of study. Biology was a test of my memory, Chemistry was too complex, and Mathematics was just…Mathematics. Although Economics seemed abstract with endless sketches of supply and demand curves, it helped me understand the world better, especially during the Global Financial Crisis.

While I only had the opportunity to fly with SIA from my first year of studies in London under the scholarship, SIA has always been omnipresent as I grew up in a family of cabin crew. My mother stopped flying before I was born, but seeing photos of her flying in the iconic sarong kebaya inspired me to follow her path by taking up the scholarship and joining SIA!

Faris Amin

Faris Amin

How did you discover the SIA-Mendaki Undergraduate Scholarship?

The opportunity came through a BrightSparks article spotlighting an SIA Scholar, who coincidentally was working in Treasury - the department I am currently in. The roles and responsibilities resonated with my profound interest in Economics and were aligned with what I was looking for in a future career.

How have you been able to apply what you learned at university to your career with SIA?

The fundamental concept of supply and demand, ingrained during my studies, has taken on new significance amid the pandemic. It’s evident that people’s intrinsic desire to travel persists, and it falls upon SIA to meet this demand proactively and stay ahead of her competitors. Economics is also fundamentally about optimising the allocation of scarce resources. The problem-solving skills I honed in school have taught me how to formulate decisions in my roles such as optimising aircraft deployment, launching campaigns to boost our Kris Flyer membership, and managing funds.

“What I find most fulfilling is that regardless of our roles in SIA, we work together towards connecting people with their friends and family.” Faris Amin

Could you tell us more about your past and present roles in SIA?

I started my journey in SIA’s Network Planning department. It is the bridge between our Commercial and Operational divisions, where decisions are made to strike the right balance between profitability and operational feasibility. The role equipped me with a foundation of the aviation industry through a good grasp of route economics, an appreciation for our operational constraints and management of various stakeholders.

I later assumed the role of Regional Marketing Manager West Asia and Africa, where I was exposed to our sales, marketing, and operational activities outside of Singapore. It was truly fascinating to see how each station has their own unique set of challenges – from launching campaigns in India to improving passenger experience in the Colombo airport, I became cognisant of SIA’s diverse customer base and the importance of tailoring an approach to capture various market segments.

I am currently in the Corporate Finance team in SIA’s Treasury department. In this role, I ensure efficient management of SIA’s working capital, enhance the yield on SIA’s cash holdings, and manage SIA’s risk exposure. I am also involved in projects ranging from rebuilding our post-pandemic liquidity strategy to sale-and-leaseback transactions. While the learning curve has been steep, the work is intriguing and has given me deeper insights into the work of a large organisation like SIA.

What is your most significant career achievement thus far, and what aspects of your role at SIA bring you the greatest sense of fulfilment?

Planning SIA’s network at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic was the most arduous yet rewarding task. We navigated through circumstances requiring us to drastically reduce our capacity and then meticulously reconstructed our network via a series of initiatives. These ranged from implementing same-plane services, converting passenger planes for cargo, executing rescue charter flights to establishing vaccinated travel lanes and many more. What I find most fulfilling is that regardless of our roles in SIA, we work together towards connecting people with their friends and family.

How would you describe the work culture in SIA?

SIA mirrors a huge family where everyone contributes to the success of each flight. The public may not be aware, but it takes tremendous efforts to fly our passengers to multiple destinations around the world. It’s akin to an entire village’s work, and through that, you experience the support and familiarity as you would in a family.

What are the career opportunities for aspiring scholars looking to join SIA?

SIA has a robust internal mobility scheme that supports staff in realising their potential and embracing their interests. Through postings across our commercial, operational, people, and strategy departments, employees gain comprehensive exposure to the intricacies of the airline business. Hence, there is a role for everyone with diverse inclinations and at various junctures of their career. There are also overseas work opportunities through SIA’s Trainee Station Manager and Overseas Manager Schemes.