Aviation, Movies, My Life, Travel, Uncategorized

What? Me? Appointed as YAP 2017?


I remembered that on 25 January 2017 at 2300 hrs (it’s the aviation way how to write 1100 PM) I came back from work after spending more than 14 hours at the office, finishing business plan proposal and found an email coming from Montreal, Canada telling me that I had been selected as successful candidate for ICAO’s Young Aviation Professional Programme 2017.

Excited? YES. It was a mixed feelings between disbelieve, excitement, sadness, proud and confused.

At that time, I thought the email was a wrong addressed or even a spam. But I later digested what was actually written there and yet questioning, ‘Have I been really selected?’. The story began when I found an information on ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) on YAP vacancy. I subsequently thought what was YAP, was it something like an internship program, or development program? I had no clue.

As a aviation enthusiast, airplane and airports have become my main interest. I have been raised by 3 generation of pilots and flight attendants, making this industry not just simply a hobby, but I want to always contribute for the industry. Therefore I decided to study Aviation Management Masters course in Coventry University.


For your information, ICAO stands for International Civil Aviation Organisation. It’s a United Nations’ specialised agency for aviation and it’s a one kind agency, different than others such as WTO, UNICEF, UNESCO and others, as this agency works directly hand-in-hand with the industry.

ACI (Airport Council International) is a non-profit organisation that lead global airports which objective is to advance the interest of Airports to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations. As of 2017, ACI serves 623 members operating 1,940 airports in 176 countries.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) is also a trade organisation that lead airlines around the world in delivering the best quality to support the global aviation industry. Currently, IATA records 263 airline members which represents more than 80% of global traffic.

And Young Aviation Professional Program, is a 12-month graduate development program initiative which is run in collaboration with ACI and IATA. The successful candidate will be rotated to the 3 organisation (average rotation takes 4 months) and will be holding specific responsibility to support the main expertise in the area of technical, environment and economic development.

But first thing foremost, how did this happen?

When I returned from the UK back to Jakarta in September, I was completely clueless on what I should be doing after my Masters. I kept looking what’s available out there, until I found a post regarding this YAP 2017 vacancy, shared by my colleague back in Coventry. First I was like, ‘Oh forget about this, but let’s try’. Yes, the analogy meant a lot to me because I thought ICAO was like creme-de-la-creme of this industry.

The fact was that I had gone for interview here and there, and deciding where should I work afterwards. Luckily, I finally secured an offer coming from subsidiary company of Indonesia’s largest airport operator, to perform a role as Business Development Manager and I started my first day on the 1st November.

Accepting that position was one of the life changing experience. Because I definitely left my comfort zone as a PR professional. My previous career before my Masters was Public Relations or commonly known as Company Spokesperson. I was lucky enough to have had a chance of doing a career that broaden my vision towards aviation industry. My first job was with American’s Public Relations firm, Weber Shandwick based in Jakarta and worked closely with Singapore Airlines as their client for 3 years, and then I moved to AirAsia where I spent the last 3 years with them, learned a lot about low cost carrier business and crisis communication management (QZ 8501 incident).

The business development manager position which I recently accepted was completely enhancing my vision to aviation industry from a different perspective, the Airport point of view. I had spent all my life working with airlines, full service and low cost and once I completed my masters degree, I was always curious to work for the airport. It was more complex and I worked with one of the greatest mentors who previously worked with Indonesia’s flag carrier.

Switching the mindset from airline to airport was one of a challenging task that I have to deal with. I was in the position to ensure business profitability so that I had to work mostly with numbers, doing financial forecasting and ensuring the business is complied with safety security, border, and the business practice. I had really enjoyed my days working for the company, in fact I was in the state of comfort. I met so many talented people, and we got along very well.

On 25th November I had to come back to London for a week for my graduation. And when I touched down in Heathrow, I suddenly received the email saying I had been shortlisted. I was flabbergasted, disbelieving, but I said yes to proceed for Skype Interview the following week in Jakarta. During the interview itself, I was completely nervous, not just because the time difference, (AM in Montreal, PM in Jakarta) because I was interviewed by 7 people that consisted of ICAO, IATA and ACI. Initially, I thought I would have only been interviewed by 3 people from the respective organisation. The interview went pretty quick for 7 people. We had to answer the questions in a concise manner and efficient. It was like the most interesting job interview experience, as I never done Skype Job interview before.

Right, back to the main business, after I read the email twice, no, it’s actually 4 times. I tried to digest the point of the email, and later I was assured that I had been selected. ‘What? Me?’ I went directly to my parents – who were sleeping at that time, and I excitedly shouted loud that I had been selected by the ICAO. I still could not believe at all, and on the other hand I was very proud of myself. ICAO, ACI and IATA launched YAP program since 4 years ago, and I was the first Indonesian to be accepted in this prestigious program.

“The announcement came in late January and I was initially expected to report by mid February but due to circumstance they decided to move it to 1st of March! I only had 3 days to think and decide.” Nervous? I completely was.


After consulting with my parents, and my current employer at that time, I had decided to accept this challenge. Only for one year, but I believe I would learn a lot of things from this program. So I decided to go. ICAO later assisted me with guidance on visa application. I applied the visa by end of January and they said the target of my reporting date would be 1st of March. Everything went smooth and the process were a bit of rush, especially finding the accommodation. Luckily, I secured my place right before I arrived and on 24 February, I flew to Montreal.


I never thought of what Montreal city would be like. I never planned on coming to North America, or even Canada before as I thought this country was just too far away from Indonesia. Even before I stepped my feet on Qatar Airways from Jakarta to Montreal via Doha, I still could not believe it.

Once I arrived in P.E Trudeau Airport then I believed that I would have had a new life and experience here in Canada. I had one week to get familiarised with the city, and on 1 March my first day officially started. For this year’s YAP were selected from South Korea, Pakistan and Indonesia. We were welcomed by the ICAO, ACI and IATA representatives. Surprisingly to me, that the Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu attended the welcoming event.

Dr. Liu made a welcoming speech, and to my surprise that in her speech she said that the competition for this position was very tight. We had been selected out of approximately 500 global applicants.

unspecified 2

What is Montreal like?

Montreal definitely made great first impression to me. Although what I could see from my plane minutes before we touched down was merely snow and frozen lake (yes it is very cold during winter time), but the city is actually very vibrant, and laid back. Bare in mind that people here speak in two languages: French and English. It’s very challenging indeed but once you are here, you will get used to it. It’s easier for you to learn the language directly from the Native speakers, and people here are very open minded.




The city may be incomparable with London, but, it has a lot to see and the fact that Montreal is way cheaper than London. It also looks very chic and reminds me to Paris. The city has a good integrated transport system, Metro, Buses and Taxis therefore commuting becomes more convenience. They said, the city doesn’t look good yet before summer, but I still like it in the winter, let alone in summer? I live in a French neighborhood, or to be exact in Parc Molson neighborhood. It’s a 20 minute from Square Victoria where my office is located. I decided not to live in city center, and trying so hard to find a lower duplex with backyard which allowed me to do activities during the weekend. The fact is, I found this amazing 3 and a half duplex with big bathroom, kitchen and backyard!


My rental house in Montreal

There is always start for something. Patience made it perfect right in time.

I will write more about this one year amazing experience. But the thing is, the main purpose of my writing here is to inspire the young generation, especially those who love aviation to catch for your dreams. I realise that most of those dreams are focused in Pilots or flight attendant jobs, but aside from that, there are plenty opportunities out there that you can still contribute for the industry. I started my career in this industry from Corporate Communications role 7 years ago and I felt blessed to ever get into this role that has opened so many opportunities for the industry because we are able to see the issues from the macro view.

The key is to accept that life is a continuous learning and full of surprises. Never let things let you down easily when you know you are having tough times by being underestimated by people. Just stay positive, consistent and be confident of who you are.


‘There is a garden between the wrong doing and the right doing, and I will meet you there” – Rumi (My favorite Poet)





Friends & Hang Out, My Life, Uncategorized

Living in the UK

It’s been nearly 3 years since my last post, as the days had been pretty hectic with my previous work in AirAsia and I actually have been living in the United Kingdom for a year now. The main reason of my moving is in order to pursue my dream of obtaining Masters Degree in Air Transport Management.

I will not sharing my student life here, basically  living as student is same elsewhere. You have a very tight budget, sleeping in an accommodation, cooking for yourself, managing your own money. However, my living experience in the UK had been quiet memorable, and I have survived for a year getting away from home! This is the longest period I have gone away from home, and nobody had ever thought I would have left my career for a higher education somewhere very far away from Indonesia.

In fact, I never thought that I would move to the UK. Never. My previous trip to London in April last year was aimed at ensuring myself whether UK was the best place for me to continue my Masters, and it turned out that I liked it, hence I decided to move.


Coventry is a city located 1 hour (train journey) and 2 hours (bus journey) from London. The city is one of the metropolitan borough in the West Midlands. The reputation of the city itself was not really prominent for the locals – the old saying often refer Coventry as a place where the elders will send their children if they are naughty or disobey –  in fact for Indonesians, the city has become very much popular due to the existence of affordable University. Yes, that is correct, living in UK sounded to be very overpriced to some people, but trust me when you live out of London, everything is 70% cheaper, even cheaper than Australia.

Coventry is a city that is closely related to automotive, yes this place is the birth place of latest invention in UK automotive industry, say Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and where the development of turbo jet engine began by Frank Whittle, this man was known as one of the British RAF Air Commodore. Coventry also has a famous cathedral, one of the famous relics left from the German invasion back in the World War II.

The city now is known to be a University student. Coventry University has contributed significant income for the city as many international (including myself) has chosen to study in the University. My first reason of choosing this University is that because the course I wished to take is a bit niche, means not every University in the UK or even in the world offered the course I am studying now. However, the price is quiet reasonable and not too far from London. Although most of my colleagues in London asking why did you choose Coventry, those three reasons always came up first to explanation. The closest big city is Birmingham which is known to be the second largest city in the UK after London, but strangely I found the city is much more boring than Coventry.

My ‘affair’ with London

Despite the fact I live in Coventry but I spend most of the time in London as the city is reachable for 2 hours by bus, and my house is close from Pool Meadow coach station. Very convenient journey that I can go for one day, or staying for couple nights. London is different than any other city in the UK, we can say it is a metropolitan city and for a boy who used to live in Jakarta, we must love the metropolitan city.

While other students prefer to spend their times in Birmingham or traveling around the United Kingdom, I decided to use my money wisely in London. Why? I think London is the future, I came to London not only to refresh my mind but also to widen my circle of networks, no matter where I work in the future. It’s one of the world’s financial capital of the world!



There are four seasons in UK in one day

The diversity which is a combination between modernity and yet historical sites makes this city seems very vibrant and you cannot only explore this city only for one day! I partially lived here as I always come and go, and friends who have taught me a lot of things, including how to commute in London and walking through alleys and hidden gems that the city has to offer.


Yes, this picture is possible on Sunday. I took my risk to cross the Westminster bridge just to get photo. Thankfully I wasn’t hit by the bus.

London is a capital city which serves as the central of politics, business, arts and trade. Just like Jakarta, my hometown which is the capital of Indonesia. The city gets very busy every peak hours which is between 8 – 10 am in the morning and 4 – 6 pm in the afternoon. There are so many interesting places to see and yet there are vast options of attractions you see. Museums, parks, gallery, and shops. London is also known as the capital of creative economy in the UK or probably in the Europe, where you can find many interesting stores selling interesting stuff. To me London, is just different, my favorite landmark, the Big Ben means a lot to me. As whenever I visit the city, I must walk pass the building and hoping to listen the chimes.

After 2 or 3 months of your visit you will find yourself familiar with the tube system which looks complicated on the map. The city map of London is actually not easy to explore. The city situates in a complex design which is not divided by blocks or grid square. And every corner of the area looks similar to each other, especially when you are in the West area. Nottinghill Gate, Paddington, Kensington, Earl’s Court are some of famous posh areas in the city that offer affordable accommodation for tourists compared to the ones in Central London. These areas connected by two busiest tube lines: Piccadilly Line (blue line) that connects London to Heathrow Airport, and Central – District Line (Green and Yellow line).


Transport for London doesn’t only cover tube and bus but there is Boat services that starts at Pier along the Thames riverside.


Going out in London could mean overpriced splurge to some people, including myself. The tube is very much convenient to be used with Oyster Card issued by Transport of London (TFL) in which tourists or Londoners can use to to travel London by tube and bus. The card applies daily cap based on the Zones you travel. For example, the maximum daily cap of the Oyster Card is £6.30 for zone 1-2 and more expensive to cover more zones, as there are 6 zones in the greater London itself.

Bus is less reliable than the tube, due to traffic jam which sometimes are inevitable due to higher car volume during peak hours, or the road construction. As a foreigner who lived in the UK, I notice that many prominent cities have undergone massive road construction, causing traffic diversion. This can be overwhelming especially in the busy motorway that links into London city such as M25 or the M5. M25 is famous for its congestion in the morning.


This is how it feels like to drive on Monday morning on M25 motorway

Nonetheless, the city’s atmosphere doesn’t stop people from visiting London. The city is a great place to eat and drink! The English pubs and local restaurants spread around London for example some of the famous ones that you might be interested to visit: The Albert’s in Westminster, Old Bells in Fleet Street, Wheatsheaf in Borough Market, Ten Bells in Barbican, Admiralty in Trafalgar Square and many others. To all of you who prefer a more fancy atmosphere you can go to Sketch Bar, Social Eating in Soho, The Manor in Clapham, Gong Bar (Shangrila’s The Shards) and any places that you can browse on the Trip Advisor. Some areas such as in Neal’s Yard, Carnaby, Piccadilly Circus also offers numerous interesting restaurants.

In regard to affordable restaurant and if you don’t mind takeaways or at the park, you can always go to Pret-A-Manger, Gregg’s or any takeaway food sold in Tesco Express or Sainsbury. Try their patisseries, affordably delicious.


My favorite Patisserie in London. They serve dozens of tasty cakes and a very nice hot chocolate!



Living in London has become dream for everyone, including for those Britons outside London who thinks the city is a land of dreams. London’s position as the capital city of United Kingdom conveys significant importance, while in contrast making it as a secluded city where the wealth seems to centralised only in the city.

To all visitors who firstly landed their feet into United Kingdom must think that London represents the country. In fact, it is not. London is a multicultural city which occupied by foreigners and immigrants. The best way to explore the UK is to go to their countryside as this country offers many tourism attractions in the countryside part such as Castle Coombe, Cotswolds, Winchester, or if you fancy to experience locals’ holiday destination you drive southwest to Devon or Cornwall where you can visit a few number of beautiful cities such as Torquay, Paignton, Plymouth, Land’s End.



Well this is just an intermezzo before I end this post, but is it worthwhile to mention the Brexit issue since this became major concerns for Londoners questioning the future of the city’s position as one of the world’s financial capital in the world. I was there when the referendum occurred. The achieved referendum results, suprisingly had led the UK to separate out of the European Union and it does not seem to favor the stability of sterling due to lack of investors’ trust.