Changi Airport has received more than 580 World’s Best Airport awards to date, but to Ms Neo Kai Ling, the feted airport is so much more than the sum of its accolades.
The 23-year-old says: “When I was a kid, I often headed to the airport for a meal or spot planes with my family. To me, Changi Airport is not just a node to travel through, but also a destination.”
It is for this reason that she wanted to make Changi Airport her workplace too.
In 2014, Ms Neo became one of six recipients to be awarded the Changi Airport Group (CAG) Overseas Scholarship.
With the scholarship, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom in 2017. She is now pursuing a Master of Science in Transportation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.
The sky is the limit
Ms Neo appreciates that the CAG Overseas Scholarship gave her the freedom to pursue her interest in the humanities at the undergraduate level. It also enabled her to challenge herself in engineering graduate school.
The learning curve at the latter was steep but being exposed to many interesting projects with real-life relevance helped her to rise to the challenge.
For example, she built a travel planning chatbot with her teammates that suggests various transport options for passengers to get to their destinations in Boston, US.
In her research, she used aircraft tracks data to analyse airfield performance and plan future operations.
Ms Neo thinks that her unique blend of education in the humanities and engineering science will enable her to better contribute to her work at CAG.
She says: “I am not only able to understand the technicalities behind operations and technology, but also think critically about the humanistic aspect of operations and technology, and the business case for them.”
Delighting every visitor
CAG’s all-round service excellence extends to even its scholars, who are treated to care packages while studying overseas.
Recalls Ms Neo: “They sent us boxes filled with local snacks during Chinese New Year and the period for our exam finals. We also received personalised cards during the festive season.”
In the same vein, she hopes to delight the airport’s visitors by delivering novel passenger experiences.
“I’d love to help improve current operations by making it more seamless and efficient, in order to enhance passenger experience and make travel as fuss-free as possible,” she says.
With the opening of Jewel Changi Airport, Ms Neo is also excited about helping to develop it as an exciting lifestyle destination for Singaporeans.
She will be joining CAG after graduating in June this year, and will be serving a five-year bond. “By joining CAG, I hopeto not only become part of the team that advances the frontier of aviation and airport management, but also places Singapore on the world map.”