With close to a decade of experience in the aviation industry, Asian Sky Group’s latest addition, Michael Hui, is bringing a different perspective to the consulting division. After working in commercial aviation for the length of his career, Michael is hopeful his knowledge will offer a new light to the division. As a dual citizen of both Hong Kong and Australia, he has the capacity to work cross-culturally, in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. 

What attracted you to the aviation industry? 

The initial attraction started with a desire to travel around the world, after holidaying to several destinations with my father. This led to childhood aspirations of being a pilot. I later learned the pilot lifestyle might not be suitable for myself. 

Still, aviation was something I wanted to pursue, so I studied Aviation Management at the University of New South Wales in Australia. During the program, I learned the fundamentals of this quickly evolving industry. My excitement of working in aviation grew as I gained more practical experience. 

Tell me about your experience prior to joining Asian Sky Group? 

I have almost 10 years of experience in the aviation industry. After completing my Aviation Management degree, I began an internship at Hong Kong-based aircraft engineering and maintenance group HAECO, where I was part of the Inventory Technical Management team for two months. This was an intensive period, where the department mainly dealt with aircraft on ground (AOG) assignments, requiring tight scheduling periods and close cooperation in replacing and sourcing aircraft parts around the world. 

I then worked full-time at a regional airline in Australia, Regional Express (REX). My first role at REX involved updating technical documentation onboard, sometimes this involved driving around the tarmac and playing ‘hide-and-seek’ with 40 aircraft. I then moved over to REX’s commercial team, where I was responsible for the airline’s route profitability analysis. The challenge of this role was to maintain competitiveness against larger Australian airlines, such as Qantas Group and Virgin Australia, while improving the bottom line. 

My first aviation consultancy experience was with Sydney-based Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting, a consultancy firm that provides air service solutions to the major airports in the Australasia region. The company assists airports in attracting new airline businesses, while lobbying policy makers to expand bilateral agreements. During my time with this company, there was an influx of inbound travellers visiting the Australasia region. Thus, airports were actively seeking solutions for more infrastructure. 

In 2014, I moved to Hong Kong to work with Flight Ascend Consultancy, the advisory division of FlightGlobal, which is one of the leading aviation data providers. One of my key responsibilities at Flight Ascend Consultancy was aircraft valuation, where I would put a ‘price-tag’ on aircraft. This included tracking aircraft transactions and identifying key trends of aircraft values. On top of that, I was responsible for strategic planning and market analysis for various aviation stakeholders. 

Throughout my time in the commercial aviation sector, I’ve been fortunate to participate in a broad spectrum of the business, learning a lot along the way from the people I’ve met and projects I’ve worked on. Working alongside knowledgeable industry veterans has been inspiring. Every consultancy project I participated in and contributed to was informative and telling of the growing industry. 

Are there trends you witnessed in commercial aviation that you expect to transfer to business aviation? 

Commercial aviation has changed significantly over the years, in terms of aircraft management and ownership — especially in Asia, where more and more airlines are leasing aircraft from aircraft lessors. Airlines understand the benefits of being more flexible with their fleet management. Consequently, this has created more investment opportunities for aircraft lessors. 

In recent years, this has attracted more investors to develop aircraft leasing businesses and created more competition in the commercial aircraft leasing industry. However, I believe this business model can be transferred to business aviation as well. Aircraft leasing companies will begin to diversify their portfolios with private jets and helicopters to seek new opportunities as the airline sectors become overcrowded. 

What is the biggest challenge to growing the business aviation industry? 

In different stages of my consultancy work, I helped major airports in evaluating their long-term strategic planning. Several times, airport managers have considered sacrificing business/general aviation (B/ GA) capacity and infrastructure to compensate for commercial airline growth 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t consider the vital role B/GA plays in the industry, the community and for the economy. This requires constant education to change preconceived notions that this segment is unnecessary and not as lucrative as commercial. 

Every consultancy project I participated in and contributed to was informative and telling of the growing industry.

What consulting services does ASG provide? 

ASG provides a wide-range of aviation consulting services, including transactional advisory, operation advisory and completion management. Our work extends to all facets and life cycles of an aircraft, from the moment there’s interest in acquiring an aircraft. We continue to aid in choosing the most suitable model and conduct extensive market research to find the right purchase or selling price. ASG also assists with furnishing the interior of an aircraft, management selection and aircraft charter needs. 

For aviation companies, ASG’s consulting division offers solutions to develop business strategies and maximize market reach. Our research and analysis can aid in determining the feasibility of projects, ultimately helping a company’s bottom line. 

The knowledge and insight that ASG puts forth can be seen in our industry reports. Our team works with the regional industry to analyze fleet numbers and forecast what’s to come. In turn, we put out insightful and highly-anticipated reports throughout that year. This same sort of analysis is a clear example of what we can do for clients, in a more tailored manner. 

What do you expect for the future of ASG’s consulting division? 

ASG’s consulting division has grown immensely over the past few years and we hope to continue this development. Supported by our network of multi-lingual analysts and an extensive network of support throughout the industry, ASG will provide more tailored data for clients to offer several different perspectives. My objective is to utilize what I’ve learned in the commercial aviation sector and translate it to the general aviation world. 

The goal is to collate and synergize our data, experience and knowledge so that we can support the wider general aviation community to tackle day-to-day and long-term challenges.