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Elevating budget travel: A peek into my role as Business Process Executive at SATS APS

Elevating budget travel: A peek into my role as Business Process Executive at SATS APS

When it comes to flight services at Changi Airport, SATS takes centre stage. But did you know that SATS does not play solo in handling millions of flights per year? SATS operates alongside its subsidiaries, one of which is SATS Asia-Pacific Star (APS) which takes on the heavy lifting for low-cost carriers, to ensure smooth and safe travels from Singapore.

In this story, we put the spotlight on Nur Hilwah Razak, who joined SATS through the Graduate Assimilation Programme, where she was rotated in different departments before finding her groove with APS.


Nur Hilwah Razak, Business Process Executive for Onboard Retail at SATS Asia-Pacific Star

Currently, Hilwah works with the Onboard Retail Team as a Business Process Executive, playing a pivotal role in enhancing productivity and efficiency in their processes.

An airborne supermarket

Ever wondered how your low-cost airline journey is not only affordable but is sufficiently catered to? That’s where Hilwah and the APS Onboard Retail Team step in. Picture it as an airborne supermarket. Hilwah whimsically calls it a “mama shop” in the sky – whatever you crave during the flight, they’ve got it covered. 

If you pre-order a meal, APS coordinates with SATS Catering Kitchen to make sure the food is ready for you. Craving something mid-flight? No worries, you can buy snacks, beverages, and even fancy microwaveable meals. Need perfume or cosmetics for your journey? APS ensures your shopping desires are met onboard.


Budget flyers can purchase food, beverage, and other items onboard, thanks to SATS APS Onboard Retail Team

Challenge in supply chain uncertainties

As with any job, Hilwah’s role comes with its set of challenges. Managing inventories of perishable and non-perishable items, including food and beverages, introduces a high level of complexity. This constant juggling against delivery uncertainties and supply gaps is what keeps Hilwah on her toes.

With the help of her mentors, Hilwah has honed strategies to maintain a healthy inventory, ensuring that they never run out of items while minimising wastage. In difficult times, she explores alternative suppliers or substitute items. For Hilwah, the show must go on, and that means delivering the best possible flight experience for passengers.


The Onboard Retail Team ensures there’s a healthy stock level of food and beverages for passengers

Passion to delight and learn

Talking to Hilwah reveals how happy she is to be working with APS, finding joy in the challenges, cherishing the learning opportunities, and valuing the connections made with suppliers.

Her favourite part of the week? Engaging with suppliers – which she views not just as business transactions but as exchanges of stories and knowledge.

Hilwah recounts a recent experience when an airline requested sustainable cutlery for their meals. As she sourced supplies, she not only secured the best items but also learnt fascinating insights from the suppliers. "It's really nice because they will share more facts about the item that you don’t know about," Hilwah shares enthusiastically.

Team spirit in action

What keeps Hilwah anchored in her role is the teamwork practised within the APS Onboard Retail Team. “It’s not a solitary role. We are a small team, and we operate like a close-knit family,” she underscores. Each day, they understand their tasks, communicate regularly to address challenges, and work together to check off their to-do list.

Acknowledging the need for efficiency, the team has even introduced artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline certain tasks. Jobs like manual inventory counting before uplift and after landing can be arduous and prone to human error, Hilwah says. But with the aid of new technology, tasks like this have become more manageable for the crew.

Despite working behind the scenes, the APS team understands the importance of coming together to create an unforgettable experience for budget flyers, even at 30,000 feet.


Grow with SATS