Careers take off at Airport Authority
On July 6, 1998, the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) made history by moving the city’s airport from Kai Tak to its present location on Lantau Island in one single night – a testament to the professionalism of its staff.
Becoming part of such a competent and expert team is surely the dream of many young people, and this is made possible thanks to an annual management training programme.
“Normally, we aim to recruit about five or six management trainees per annum, though the exact intake each year depends on organisational needs and the quality of the candidates who can meet our requirements,” says Christine Chan, AAHK general manager for human resources.
Applicants should be university graduates in any discipline, with up to three years of work experience, and excellent written and spoken English and Chinese, including Putonghua.
Those who successfully pass an aptitude test and an assessment of their English and Chinese writing skills must do face-to-face interviews and pass a psychometric test to be able to join the 24-month structured training and familiarisation attachment programme with job rotations.
“Our management trainees will experience a structured and standardised training curriculum focusing on core airport management competency, as well as job rotations to different functions where they will undergo on-the-job training and perform meaningful roles,” Chan says.
After the two-year structured programme, trainees will progress through a number of job rotations. Assignments, which may include out-port postings, will depend on the individual’s performance and the needs of the organisation, while senior management will continually monitor performance.
The AAHK offers fresh graduates an interesting and challenging learning environment through diversified work experience.
Project liaison assistant manager Gigi Chong began as a trainee and has been with the company for six years. Her most exciting opportunity came when she was posted to work as assistant to the executive director for airport operations, requiring her to work across different functional teams and departments on various projects, giving her an all-round understanding of airport operations and businesses.
Her role at the China development, industry and government affairs department saw her establish business connections and communication with government, airlines, other airports and various industry bodies.
“I see high adaptability and good interpersonal skills as the most prominent factors in doing a good job here,” says Chong. “I have been assigned to a variety of operational and commercial postings in the organisation over the years, hence it is particularly essential to be a quick learner and highly adaptable to new working environments and the different people mix.” She adds that candidates should be prepared for change, as well as adaptable and open-minded about learning and exploring new things.
“They have to see the big picture too. They should keep an eye on the latest market news and developments as the aviation industry is in a constant state of flux,” Chong says.
After almost five years with the company, Debbie Poon works as special assistant at Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management. “I appreciate this experience of working in a different environment, work style, language and culture, which has sharpened my learning curve,” she says.
Poon advises those who are starting out in the field to join only if they have a passion for aviation and airport management. “If you are interested in this field, you will always be self-motivated and proactive to excel,” she says.
Trainees should be flexible, able to multi-task and be actively looking out for any opportunity where they can add value. “Apart from job rotations, there are numerous opportunities for management trainees to perform in the programme. For instance, I also got involved in the planning and organisation of corporation-wide events such as the staff club and the staff annual dinner,” Poon says. She adds that now is the perfect time to join AAHK as there are significant upcoming projects including the midfield and third-runway developments.