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A Senior Ramp Executive tells us how GTR SG redefines ramp operations at T4

A Senior Ramp Executive tells us how GTR SG redefines ramp operations at T4

Nurfarizan Binti Isahak had no clue what ramp operations were about when she first joined SATS in 2012. Her background was in sports and leisure management, and aviation was uncharted territory. But after her father’s nudging, she gave it a try.

“I started as a Trainee Officer at the ramp, climbing the cargo holds, overseeing loading and unloading procedures,” Farizan recalls with a smile. Among the handful of female Ramp Loading Officers, she embraced the challenge with a straightforward philosophy – what the guys could do, she could, too. This mindset became the cornerstone of her decade-long journey at SATS.


Nurfarizan Binti Isahak, Senior Executive for Ramp Operations at SATS GTR SG

Farizan honed her skills in ramp handling before accepting a new challenge as a Duty Manager. This shift marked the beginning of her involvement in overseeing operations, rostering manpower, and managing flights.

Read also: What working at SATS Ramp Services for 50 years feels like

Redefining ramp operations

The turning point in Farizan’s career came when she became part of the project that birthed GTR, a joint venture between SATS and AirAsia, tasked with handling ground services for all AirAsia flights at Changi Airport. Faced with the unique challenge of a 25-minute turnaround time and the switch from wide-bodied to narrow-bodied planes, Farizan and her team emerged victorious.

Fast forward to 2017, the opening of Terminal 4 presented yet another challenge for Farizan and the team. More than a challenge, however, it was an opportunity to reshape the narrative around ramp operations. As a Duty Manager, Farizan was given a voice to redefine the space that would be their new home.

“We wanted to provide a space that reflects our professional work,” she asserts. Farizan played a key role in the construction of their new office in Terminal 4, underscoring that it wasn't just about aesthetics but about changing perceptions and creating an environment where the team could take pride in their work.

“We modernised the office, even putting up a large mirror for the staff to feel good about themselves and their roles,” she shares with a touch of pride. The result? An environment that not only challenges the stereotypes associated with ramp offices but instils a genuine sense of pride in every team member.


Farizan in the GTR SG Ramp Office at Changi Airport Terminal 4

Working as #OneTeam

One of the hallmarks of GTR SG is the collaborative approach within the team. Unlike traditional setups where baggage, ramp, and tech ramp operate as different entities, GTR SG blurs these lines, fostering a seamless integration. This collaborative spirit extends to cross-training, providing team members with skills and insights into various departments and cultivating a deeper understanding of the entire apron-side operations.

"At GTR SG, we don’t draw lines. If we need assistance, we can ask from the Baggage Department. Likewise, if the Baggage Team needs assistance, they can readily ask from us, even though our roles differ," Farizan explains. This underscores the team’s commitment to a united front in navigating the intricacies of ground operations.

Read also: A day in the life of a Baggage Officer at SATS

Day in the life of Farizan

Farizan’s role involves overseeing both ramp and tech ramp operations for multiple airlines. From cargo loading to aircraft pushback, she ensures that each element operates smoothly, meeting stringent airline requirements while looking out for her team's safety and well-being.

"My goal is to come in the morning with a smile and go back home with a smile," Farizan declares, encapsulating her positive outlook on her daily responsibilities. Amidst the challenges, it’s not just about getting the job done; it’s about ensuring her team feels like they’re part of a significant narrative, where each member plays a crucial role.


Farizan at the airside, overseeing the ramp and tech ramp operations for an AirAsia flight

In a field where guys often take the spotlight, there’s Farizan turning the narrative on its head. From her beginnings as a female ramp officer to her present role as an executive for GTR SG, she recognises the changing landscape she’s a part of.

Her journey goes beyond shattering stereotypes; it’s proof that anyone, regardless of background or gender, can seamlessly integrate into any industry. A decade ago, Farizan might have been unfamiliar with ground services intricacies, but today, she navigates them with seasoned expertise.

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