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Tech talent check-in

Cathay is recruiting IT staff to boost services

In an age when travellers search for flights, book their tickets, choose their seats and get their boarding passes all by themselves online, an airline’s information technology (IT) standards can make or break a deal.

Maintaining the highest IT standards has become of primary importance for airlines. Those who want to attract and retain the busy business traveller, however, also need to spruce up their offering of mobile applications.

Cathay Pacific is taking this task extremely seriously. “We have established a new team – the IT Innovation Centre – within Cathay Pacific’s information management department,” says Joe Locandro, the airline’s director of IT. “We are looking to build our team and recruit in the key areas of web and mobility space, programme management, security, IT infrastructure and IT operations. We have key positions available for mobile and web developers and in user interface design. Exciting opportunities also exist in networking, IT operations and service as we make strides into utilising best in class technology stacks.”

He adds that the new IT team will focus on introducing and delivering new technologies into the business and IT environment to create competitive advantages for Cathay Pacific.

The initial focus will be on web and mobile solutions to extend Cathay’s on-board customer service to wherever the customer is located, and ensure no customers are lost due to disappointment over IT services.

The team is also in the midst of implementing a strategic initiative in the passenger-services system. This will see the transfer of Cathay Pacific’s departure control system to the Altea Customer Management Solution, provided by IT solution company Amadeus, to manage the passenger service chain.

The team will also continue to build the IT infrastructure supporting the airline’s operations and create synergies between the headquarters in Hong Kong and the other airports around the world that the airline serves.

“It will be an exciting adventure as we take Cathay Pacific into the highly competitive e-commerce and mobile area,” Locandro says.

New hires will join 475 permanent employees in the information management department and 18,000 total staff worldwide.

The continuing programme of IT work reaches every part of the organisation and the department has to partner with business units across the airline, from product development to passenger reservation systems.

To be successful in the job, good communication skills are necessary in any of the roles available. Collaborative teamwork and assertive leadership skills are also paramount. Business is primarily conducted in English, so good written and spoken English are required, while proficiency in other languages is an additional benefit.

Although the airline industry is operating in a challenging cost-management environment, Cathay is still investing in its long-term strategy and the airline’s future. The ambitious plan to introduce new technology in one of the most competitive industries promises many new opportunities for professional and career development.

“This commitment means that we will continue to have innovative projects in the pipeline to support our product and customer-service offerings,” Locandro says.

Cathay offers comprehensive training and supports employees’ continuous learning from almost the day they join the company.

There is a comprehensive database of all the learning programmes available, while in the open-plan Learning Zone there is a wealth of multimedia learning resources. Virtual classrooms offer blended learning solutions, while lunchtime learning seminars and Cathay Forums are organised for staff to learn from their colleagues and visiting professionals.

Staff are encouraged to take responsibility for their own career development through self-appraisals, setting their own goals and making their own plans. They are supported by career coaching and career-planning workshops, as well as online learning.

“We have a team focused on practice management that facilitates a community of like-minded professionals to develop their careers further in their field of expertise and explore opportunities in other areas of interest,” Locandro says.

The variety of community initiatives undertaken by Cathay motivates staff to participate in volunteering for the community and strengthen staff morale.