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Opportunity to fly

Stanley Yau of HK Express speaks about the company’s expansion plans

31 Dec 2019 / 11:55 H.

THE only low-cost carrier (LCC) or airline in Hong Kong, HK Express conducted a recruitment campaign in Malaysia for new pilots from Nov 4 to 6. With 24 aircrafts in their fleet and more planned, HK Express is undergoing rapid expansion.

It is the reason the airline was in Malaysia; to find more flight crew. “Right now, the world is facing a shortage of pilots and HK Express as a fast expanding airline is facing this problem. We’re hoping to get 18 pilots to support our expansion,” said HK Express Human Resources & Administration Director Stanley Yau.

Yau recently sat down with theSun to talk about the company, their work culture and expansion.

Is there a set number of Malaysian pilots that HK Express seeks to hire?
There is no set number or ratio. Another reason we have come here to Malaysia is that the country has a lot of good pilots that we can tap into. For example, they have diverse education backgrounds, good language skills and many of them have experience in piloting the Airbus A320. These are all attributes that we are looking into.

What is HK Express looking for when it comes to hiring new people, their characteristics, resume etc?
For pilots, a first officer that is type rated, meaning he or she has experience with the A320 or has a minimum of 500 flying hours. For non-type rated pilots, we need at least 1,000, and for senior ranks such as captains, we need at least 3,000.

Apart from flying hours, we are looking into the language standard. These are the key qualifications we are looking at. Of course it is not just these technical qualifications or experience, as we also look at the personalities of the candidates and whether they fit in with the culture of HK Express.

Right now, we are quite young and are looking forward to further expansion. We want these new talents to support that expansion and grow with us. It is not just viewing their roles, be it a pilot or a cabin crew member as just a job.

We want them to express more of their own ideas so that we can have more sources of innovation. Innovation is not about rocket science, but being forward thinking, especially for those in the frontlines or in operations, because they are part of our every day operations.

What would their future prospects be in terms of career growth?
As we are rapidly expanding, we need more pilots, first officers and captains. It creates a good opportunity for advancement. If I’m a young first officer, there would be lots of opportunities to become a captain after working for two or three years to accumulate flying hours.

For prospective new employees of the airline, what sets HK Express apart from other low-cost carriers in Asia?
A unique competitive edge of HK Express is that we’re in Hong Kong, where Hong Kong International Airport is a very large and mature airport. We will also have a runway in 2024, which will increase the capacity of our international airport by say 50%. That would create a huge supply of time slots. This sets us apart from other LCCs.

We are also focused on building a very robust and unique corporate culture in HK Express. We are young, have a flat structure for junior staff to those higher up, fast decision-making, and being proactive and innovative. That may not be the culture of other airlines. This is what we are proud of.

HK Express is in a unique position to offer just as unique opportunities to candidates. It is a golden moment to join the airline compared to three or four years earlier, because at that time we were still in the early stages of being an LCC and surviving.

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