Women to Power Service Hospitality Ambitions at Angkasa Pura 1 Airport
- 11 Mar 2021
Marketing and Services Director, Mrs. Devy Suradji at Angkasa Pura 1, describes the importance of balance and the need for hospitality in the airport sector with our communications manager, Samantha Solomon.
Q. How have/ can women contribute to the COVID-19 recovery in aviation?
Women in aviation should remain resilient, confident, pro-active, and comprehensive to voice their concerns and initiatives. Our presence is important to balance and complement many strategic decisions that are made for the post COVID-19 future of aviation, tourism, and hospitality sectors for the next generations to come. The aviation industry has grown because people travel not only for business but also for leisure and family. Therefore, looking at an airport not only as a place that is compliant with safety and security, but also as a destination and a service entity will drive the need for a focus on hospitality that women can deliver.
This also goes for recovery programmes in aviation. People will prioritize travelling for business purposes. Family and leisure travel will come later. When our airport initiated testing at the airport for arriving and departing passengers, it was not just preparing the facility as compliant for travel. It also added a touch of hospitality to ensure that the testing procedures didn’t add stress to the passenger. Having a woman’s touch and hospitality focus improves the service in the airport.
Q. How can women support each other?
Women can support each other through listening, mentoring, and caring for each other. In many fields of work, including the aviation industry, there is a challenge when a woman arrives at the crossroad between family and career. This challenge is even bigger in the Asian culture, including the various cultures in Indonesia, where the woman is stil perceived as the care taker in the family. It is very important to have peers or leaders that can listen, mentor and care when a woman has to make a decision that will support their career but never neglect their family.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges became bigger for women in almost every part of the world. The need to be heard becomes even bigger as not only does a woman shoulder her own feelings, but she must carry the feelings of her partners, children, and even parents, as in most Asian cultures, big families live together.
In December 2020, several female directors of leading State-Owned Enterprises formalized a community group called Srikandi BUMN. ‘Srikandi’ is Javanese dialect that means superwomen, ‘BUMN’ is the Indonesian State-Owned Enterprise. Within the group, my role as programme development leader is to create programmes that allow women to share, be heard and make changes. I always use my own personal experience as examples. If the work is done close to the heart, then only good can come out of it.
Although many women have obtained the luxury and opportunities to sit at the top level in the industry, there is still lots of work to be done to achieve the global 50:50 gender equality agenda. We recognize limitations are greater in some countries than others. Women need to stand together and lead to give our endless support to each other.
Q. What positive signs of gender equality are you seeing?
A very positive sign of gender equality is seeing more women sitting in positions of power and prominence. These women are able to perform their duties professionally just like their fellow men colleagues who have long dominated many operational and strategic positions in aviation. The number of female leaders in high-level positions is growing. The Indonesian State-Owned Enterprise has finally released a policy stating that all State-Owned Enterprises must have 15% women leaders in management. Since the first discussion in December 2020, it has already been rolled out to all 164 State-Owned Enterprises in Indonesia for the 2021 Shareholders Aspiration.
At Angkasa Pura 1 Airports premises, I could not be happier to see more variety of operational duties undertaken by women employed by AP1, airlines, ground handlers, aviation security, air traffic controllers, engineers, marshallers, and pilots. In fact, I was once on a flight operated by all-female staff, spanning ground handling, aircrews and engineers. The experience truly inspired me that women can be anything in aviation.
At Angkasa Pura 1 Airports, the signs of gender equality can be seen within our talent acquisition and management processes, especially in the area of management roles. We give equal opportunity for women to grow and take-up prominent roles and responsibilities such as Director, Airport General Manager, Vice President, and Senior Manager. At one point in time, the Technical Director was a woman. There have been other times when almost all Vice Presidents for Airport Technical Department were women (even when the appointed Director was a male). Two of our five subsidiaries are helmed by female President Directors leading more than 20,000 outsourced staff and evolving the retail industry in airports.
Q. What advice do you have for women entering the aviation industry?
For women who wish to enter the aviation industry, the first thing that you must remember is to always be yourself. Being tough in a masculine culture does not always mean you have to be entirely like men. Second is being adaptive. Most women are known to be able to multitask, so we are able to adapt to the rapid changes in our work while comprehending the needs of family. Third is to always keep the mother instincts within you so there will always be energy to listen to others and grow with your team, peers and superiors.
As a woman, female and mother, leadership must be nourished both in the family and workplace. Having a good balance between attitude and aptitude is important when working in a very complex, dynamic, and highly-regulated industry on a global scale.
Furthermore, the best leaders are those who create leaders. Women are well suited to do so with their motherly instinct to protect their team and organization because the aviation industry has the highest standard for safety, security and health. With their female touch, they can balance the service hospitality aspects provided by Angkasa Pura 1, in line with our mission to make our airports ‘Airports for the People’’.
Mrs. Devy Suradji is the Marketing & Services Director at PT Angkasa Pura I (Persero) in Indonesia. Prior to this role, she was a Special staff for the State-Owned Enterprise Ministry and a member of Board of Commissionaire of Telkom Indonesia Tbk. She has extensive experience in marketing communications and business management areas from various industries.