It was Mr Yong Yong Qian’s childhood dream to be part of the Singapore Airlines (SIA) team.

“I have always loved airplanes and enjoyed going to the viewing gallery at the airport to watch airplanes take off and land at the runway.

“The majestic SIA 747 Megatops, in particular, amazed me. I was naturally excited when I learnt that SIA was to be the launch customer of the Queen of the Skies — the Airbus A380.”

Mr Yong, 26, was awarded the Singapore Airlines Open Scholarship in 2009 and graduated with a Master of Engineering in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. He also has a Master of Research in Risk and Environment from Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France.

Overseas immersion

The Singapore Airlines Open Scholarship (overseas) provides tuition and other compulsory fees, hostel allowance, maintenance allowance, a one-off pre-studies allowance, plus an annual trip to any destination on SIA’s global network.

Scholars undergo an internship programme, consisting of two attachments to different departments in SIA.

They also benefit from developmental opportunities such as networking and engagement sessions.

As part of his programme at Imperial College London, Mr Yong spent a year abroad in Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France, where he was also given the opportunity to pursue a second master’s.

SIA was supportive of his pursuits during his days in university.

He says: “As part of my yearabroad, I was required to perform a five- to six-month long industrial attachment. In a very short notice of three weeks, SIA helped to organise a stint at Network Revenue Management (NRM). I also had the opportunity to perform part of this attachment overseas at SIA’s UK station, one of the biggest in SIA’s network.

“The stints in various departments, from planning to operations, enabled me to gain an insight into the complex and fascinating world of airline management and operations.”

Prior to the start of his career at SIA, he was enrolled in the SIA Executives Programme (SEP). The programme, lasting more than a month, comprised rotations in various operational departments, giving scholars an induction into the unique service culture at SIA.

These included mystery shopping, attending to premium passengers at the lounge and fielding queries at the call centre.

Diverse and rewarding career

As a company planner, he is involved in long-term fleet planning and aircraft purchase, fuel hedging, SIA Group’s strategic planning sessions and business development projects.

Mr Yong explains: “We evaluate various options to ensure our fleet meets the network requirements. We also monitor new aircraft programmes for SIA Group and participate in aircraft configuration and deployment evaluation.”

He takes pride in his work.

“As a fleet planner, it is gratifying to have developed a robust and most optimal fleet plan in consultation with other stakeholders in various divisions to ensure that SIA’s fleet not only meets network requirements, but sufficient flexibility has been catered for to swiftly respond to changes in network requirements,” says Mr Yong.

He adds: “SIA is a tight-knit family. I have amazing mentors in the form of bosses and colleagues. Their advice and insights have been invaluable in guiding me through the very complex and fascinating airline industry.

“Every day is rewarding in its own way, so different and dynamic. To be able to continuously participate in projects that affect the long-term future of SIA Group is in itself an honour.”