Meet the Regional Board: Airports of Thailand
- 27 Jan 2021
In the ‘Meet the Board’ series, we are featuring and introducing the members of the ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Board. We will get to know them better by learning about their leadership style, their thoughts on the next generation of leaders and, unavoidably, the impact of the pandemic.
At the helm of Airports of Thailand as President since 2015, Mr. Nitinai Sirismatthakarn has been a Director of the ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Board since June 2020. Mr. Sirismatthakarn holds a Ph.D. in Economics and a Master's in Public Administration, respectively from Florida State University and the University of Southern California in the United States and a B.A. in Economics from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
What have you had to do differently in terms of leading your team during the pandemic?
To lead the team during the pandemic, two areas of my focus are routine operations and planning for the future.
In order to maintain our excellent level of services, we promote a safety culture among employees to build their confidence, for example, by providing COVID-19 health insurance for AOT employees working at the airports. I do appreciate my colleagues’ tireless efforts in coordinating with many stakeholders during the pandemic to ensure efficient operations and safety of passengers.
While we are managing the COVID-19 crisis, at the same time, we are looking ahead to the future. AOT is gearing up for business opportunities in three major areas of air cargo, airport city and digital platform
Some projects were planned even before the pandemic. In this regard, the pandemic is a catalyst for us to proceed faster. After COVID-19 breakthrough, we expect to diversify our sources of income from depending significantly on aeronautical revenue to gaining more from non-aeronautical revenue, especially from the three areas mentioned above.
Cutting-edge technologies make an airport operator more efficient in organizational management.
Has there been a silver lining arising from this pandemic crisis and if so, what?
To accomplish our future plans mentioned earlier, we need to consider the context of the ‘new normal’. We keep on working hard and until now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we will go there with the flagship projects.
As the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes our world, it takes time for passengers to return to their journey. On the other hand, e-commerce is crossing over to the world, becoming a growth driver for the air cargo business.
In terms of a “digital platform” and other technology for workplace such as online conferencing and various operating systems, these cutting-edge technologies make an airport operator more efficient in organizational management. At AOT, we have been implementing many projects with regards to air cargo and digital platform before the pandemic started. Fortunately, the pandemic made us realize that the sooner the organization adapts the digital transformation, the more competitive it becomes.
What is your advice to young people in the aviation business?
The aviation business mentioned here is seen from an airport operator’s viewpoint. Before entering into this industry, young people should understand what airports offers. Airports offers services. Therefore, we encourage the new generation with a service mindset to join us.
AOT has been cultivating the service-minded quality into the DNA of young employees through the organization’s Core Values program for more than half a decade. Our core values are:
- Safety and security - our priority commitment
- Service-minded - conveys offering services beyond expectation
- Teamwork - expresses respect to different opinions and working in collaboration
- Innovation - crucial to the continuing success of the organization
- Integrity - or the quality of having strong moral principles in order to protect AOT’s interest.
If you have a magic wand, what would you want to change?
We may not need any magic wand for a sudden change as there must be a reason for it. Things take time for change. So do my colleagues, they need time to engage with the core values of the organization.
However, if there is a wish granted, I wish that there was no great loss, both in the aspect of life and business, in terms of passengers and entrepreneurship. I wish everyone strength in getting through this crisis together. As it requires a lot of time to build our airport community, we do not want to lose our stakeholders who have been with us for a long time.