AVIATION INTERVIEW WITH AZRUL HISHAM DATO’ ABDUL WAHAB
CEO of My Jet Xpress Airlines Sdn Bhd
The personal strength of the 45-year-old Azrul Hisham who helms My Jet Xpress, formerly known as Neptune Air Sdn Bhd before its rebranding exercise, is more than just a dynamic team leader. Creative, resourceful and passionate for continuous learning as well as personal growth, he is also equipped with outstanding interpersonal and communication skills.
His responsibilities include liaising with the Transport Ministry and regulatory agencies, looking into the business development and strategic planning of the company. This highly motivated and driven man possesses a strong desire to excel. Being a proud member of ANSARA Malaysia, a product of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), he is grateful for the knowledge and skills Maktab Rendah Sains MARA has equipped him with. On top of that, Azrul Hisham not only has a diploma in marketing but also a Bachelor of Law degree from a university in the United Kingdom.
Please share how you started your journey in the aviation industry, including the charter and air cargo business.
I have been involved in the aviation industry for almost 15 years, including experience in aviation training, specifically training pilots when I was country manager of an aviation academy from 2011-2013. I started in general aviation as director of
a local aviation company. When I ventured into the air cargo industry in 2013, I found it to be very interesting and challenging. Prior to my seven years with My Jet Xpress, I was CEO of another local company that provides corporate jet charters and air ambulance services.
What are some milestones or highlights of your career?
Armed with the best team on my side, we managed to spread our wings from the domestic market overseas to countries such as China and most of the Southeast Asia region. Moving from being a charter airline operator previously, we were extremely pleased when the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia and the Malaysian Aviation Commission granted us to be a scheduled airline operator. As one of the three operating cargo airlines granted this license in Malaysia, it is truly a huge achievement for us as we are now able to operate our journeys with a fixed schedule, thus giving us the opportunity to compete with other foreign cargo airlines in this industry.
You mentioned recently about expanding My Jet Xpress Airlines’ fleet size from your existing two aircraft with two more additional planes by the second quarter of 2021. What kind of aircraft type will you be operating for the new planes and what were their investment costs?
We are delighted to announce that we are now expecting to receive two additional aircraft by end-October instead of next
year. The wise decision made by our board members to expediate the additional two new aircraft is much appreciated as we intend to use this opportunity to accommodate the high demand from the market, which has seen our cargo increasing from 30-50 tonnes pre- Covid-19 to 100 tonnes daily. The investment for the two new aircraft, comprising a Boeing 737-300 and Boeing 737-400, is about RM40 million to complement our existing two Boeing 737-300 planes.
How is the recent launch of your new routes to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching performing, especially since the former has now been declared to be under targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO)?
We have successfully achieved 98% of on-time performance since the launch and catered to the demand for both these markets. Fortunately, the TEMCO in Sabah has not affected our operations and cargo movement. This may well be attributed to the flexible adaptation by the locals since total lockdown was announced in March.
Tell us more about your partnership with Zen Aviation Sdn Bhd to explore international routes and to offer fast delivery for the e-commerce market.
After witnessing the success of Zen Aviation as our partner in establishing the East Malaysian market, we both view East Malaysia as a strategic transit point connecting us to China and the Indochina markets.
How has the emergence of e-commerce fuelled demand for airfreight services for your airline?
With the strong e-commerce market growing rapidly, we acknowledge the consumer demand for greater transparency, speed and reliability. Thus, we are trying our best to fulfill these demands in order to ensure that we are always competent and relevant to e-commerce growth. It is also consistent with our company’s motto, “The Way To Go”.
What are the different types of cargo that My Jet Xpress Airlines carry?
As a reliable cargo airline, we provide flexibility and a broad range of options best suited to the logistical needs. They include general cargo, dangerous goods and transportation of animals such as horses.
How optimistic are you of riding out this storm created by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic?
I always believe whenever there is a crisis, there will be opportunities. Thus, we take the current crisis as a challenge rather than an obstacle. Undoubtfully, the pandemic has hugely impacted the aviation industry, particularly the airlines with bigger fleets. It will be easier for smaller operators like us to manoeuvre under the present situation.
What is your company’s vision for the next five years?
I hope to see MY Jet Xpress as one of the main players in the air cargo industry, expanding not only in Southeast Asia but also throughout Asia with more fleet comprising narrow and wide body aircraft. I also wish to see us venturing into the maintenance, repair and overhaul segment within the aviation industry.
On the personal front, what are your interests or hobbies to help you unwind?
Other than my passion in aviation, I am also a big bike enthusiast. Despite my hectic working schedule, I always find time to join such bike convoys. I also play golf to unleash my stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Brushing aside the stereotype idea that most men cannot cook, I have found joy in cooking for my family whenever I have the free time.