From Dr. Mohd Isa, Head of Infrastructure Development at AirAsia Group:
There is a famous saying within the industry that once you have been bitten by the aviation bug, you can hardly recover from it. As for me, the bug might have bitten me since I was born. My father was an Airman with the Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) and I have been living next to airports my entire life.
I was blessed to land a career in the airport industry from an early stage in my career. Another breakthrough in my career was the opportunity I received from my employer at the time, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, to enrol in the Global ACI-ICAO Airport Management Professional Accreditation Program (AMPAP). The modules and learning experience make for a unique program and shaped me into a more diversified airport professional. Even after completing the programme, I had the privilege to continue the learning experience by being one of the instructors for one of the AMPAP online mandatory courses, the Airport Planning, Development and Environmental Management (APDE). Each cohort brought different focus and issues, which provided me a new and enriching experience every time. One endearing insight was that no matter where we were located around the world, our issues and challenges as airport professionals had some similarity, despite our different contexts and situations.
If you have seen one airport, then you have just seen one airport – I have heard this from a few mentors throughout my aviation career and I have personally experienced how true this statement is. Understanding each airport requires an understanding of all aspects of the airport operations, such as the governance and ownership structure, the traffic profile, the airport’s role and many others.
My love for the industry also inspired my doctorate research entitled ‘Project and Operational Stakeholders’ Perspectives of an Airport Terminal Project Outcome’. The research was a post-implementation project review on one of my most significant work experience, which was planning and developing the klia2 terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). It was an exciting yet controversial aviation project for KLIA, which is the primary hub for my current employer, the AirAsia Group. That extensive stakeholders’ requirements are diversified and sometimes contradictory comprised the critical issues in my research, and, as most of us have acknowledged, aviation stakeholders are complex and managing them requires an in-depth understanding of the industry as well as an appreciation of their specific contextual requirements.
My fellow mentors and colleagues from the industry, especially from the International Airport Professional Community of Practice (IAP COP), which was formed in 2012 by AMPAP graduates, have also inspired me to ensure that my portfolio in the industry is diversified so that I can fully understand the critical survival issues for airports and airlines as well as other players in the industry.
There is definitely a lot more to learn from this dynamic industry and I am rooting for innovation and technology to play a massive role in the introduction of several ground-breaking changes to the industry.