By Aster Tan
For many years, the growth of air travel seemed unstoppable. Then, in the blink of an eye, Covid-19 brought air travel to a halt, wiping out tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue, and forcing the industry to reimagine its future.
In spite of the doom and gloom, Changi Airport Group (CAG) Scholarship recipient Jacelyn See, 22, remains optimistic about the massive growth potential of air travel.
She says: “The world will fly again one day, but these flights may be increasingly geared towards leisure travel. Once restrictions are lifted, it’s very likely that air travel will resume, given the pent-up demand.
“Also, if companies adopt more remote and flexible working arrangements, this may lead to more spontaneous trips that change the traditional seasonality of travel.”
Another major shift has been the greater importance of safety in travellers’ minds. Ms See notes that on top of terrorist threats, airports and airlines must also now take into account biosafety – the prevention of risks to travellers’ health from exposure to disease-causing biological agents. “It would be great if Singapore could pave the way for a united response on the biosafety front.”
With the barrage of challenges facing the airline industry, Singapore needs future leaders like Ms See who are brimming with ideas and confidence to take them on. “I want to do work that challenges me in a fast-paced environment. CAG stood out as an organisation that I’d like to be in,” she says.
On the CAG Scholarship, Ms See chose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with Management at Imperial College London, graduating last year with first-class honours. Knowing she was embarking on a management track, she decided to stay on in London for her Masters in Management at London Business School, also on the dime of the CAG Scholarship.
She counts her internship last June with CAG’s Covid-19 task force as a scholarship highlight. It involved working with public and private companies and national health authorities to search, analyse and implement new and viable solutions – such as more efficient screening of passengers and novel rapid test options – to restart air travel at Changi Airport.
Ms See is grateful that her supervisors were supportive and empowered her to do her own research and make decisions on various issues, such as project leads to follow up on. “It gave me a sense of purpose that my work mattered. It also helped me to understand what kind of leader I want to work with, and the one I aspire to become.”
2020 may have been tumultuous but Ms See says she has learnt to make the most out of every situation. “My dream is to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I like to think of it as honing a part of me that’s not been developed yet. It leaves me excited at the possibilities ahead.”
Visit https://www.changiairport.com/corporate/careers/scholarships.html for more information.