I started my British Airways career on the Cargo graduate scheme, before working in project management and IT within Revenue Management. I then had a hankering to work for a Middle Eastern carrier and spent two years overseas. It was always going to take a lot to bring me back to the cold, wet UK but then I saw my current job promoted on LinkedIn. It was very strategic and commercially orientated and I was excited to be back in the British Airways fold.
You pick up cultural sensitivities – like in Japan you’re expected to accept a business card with two hands.”
We essentially evaluate and determine our Asia Pacific route network to optimise our performance and profitability. So I model route evaluations, which can take into account everything from frequency of flights, destinations, aircraft types and scheduling, to competitor impact, catchment area, economic factors and future growth projections. Putting together the network is a team effort and we work closely Slots and Scheduling, as well as Engineering, Crew Planning and Cargo. It’s an important job – if we get it wrong, we might miss out on opportunities – but it’s also a job that’s packed with variety. No project or evaluation is the same: one might be adding capacity; another might be to do with scheduling to improve the customer proposition.
I'm always learning something new about how an airline operates. Focusing on Asia Pacific routes, you also pick up cultural sensitivities – like in Japan you’re expected to accept a business card with two hands, and you organise business cards in front of you according to hierarchy as a sign of respect. You have to read between the lines, too, as Japanese people are reluctant to say ‘no’ to your face. Picking up all the nuances has helped me to build a rapport and work well with our Japanese counterparts.