Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Aviation Academy

Sander van Noorloos as Commercial Operations Planner @ BA

Posted at: 21 Nov 2020 | Faculty of Technology

In 2014, Sander graduated from the Engineering track. During his time at the Aviation Academy, he completed the MRO and Business English minor. After completing his studies at the Aviation Academy, he decided to focus on achieving his master’s degree in Air Transport Management at the Cranfield University in the UK.

If this isn’t your first job since graduation: what were your other jobs at which companies?

Having spent a year abroad, Sander wanted to gain more international experience, so he started applying to overseas roles. One of them was a position in Revenue Management for Qatar Airways, based in Doha. After passing the interviews Sander flew out in 2016 and ended up staying in the Middle East for about 2.5 years. A great opportunity with British Airways meant that he moved back to the UK in May 2018, where he is still based up to this point.

How did you get your current job?

I had been working in British Airways for circa two years as a team lead in the Revenue Management department. The retirement of a few colleagues combined with some organisational changes at the time meant that the position of Commercial Operations manager became available a few months ago. Driven by the outlook of more cross-operational engagement and the prospects of a full-time managerial role I applied and started about 6 weeks ago.

What are your daily operations?

My days normally feature quite a bit of variation as I am currently responsible for a wide portfolio of items within Revenue Management. We start each day with a commercial update followed by an operational update, and these calls normally dictate where my focus lies for that day.

When the operation is quiet, most of my time is spend towards developing interline partnerships (selling other airlines flights) and policing new/incoming bookings for fraudulent behaviour. Our revenue integrity team manages several robots that constantly scan our databases for tickets that are in breach of our policies or practices – a typical cat/mouse game! I am also involved in various IATA working groups, where we help develop commercial system standards across the industry.

Whenever we face operational difficulties however, my day shifts into another gear and we tend to spend a lot of time focussing on creating commercially viable solutions for disrupted customers. It is my role to safeguard the commercial principles in this process. This is arguably the most exciting part of my current role and it is great to see the various teams come together to work towards resolving any issues as quickly and best as possible.

What do you like the most at your job?

I really enjoy the variety, the people management and working with so many teams across British Airways. Some of the people I work with on a day-to-day basis are true experts in their own field and it is incredibly exciting to work closely with them. So far, in my journey with BA, no day has gone by where I have not learned something new and that makes for a great experience. It is also very rewarding to see how much of an impact individual decisions can make – even in an organisation the size of BA.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am really happy where I am right now and, having only just started my new role, I do not see much changing over the next few years. That being said, the aviation industry is ever so diverse, so I am sure a lot of things will have changed in five years’ time. Whilst I am happy to be back in Europe, I do still have the urge to further explore other countries, cultures and business practices across the globe. Fully submerging yourself in a different culture is a very rewarding experience and I will continue to persuade opportunities that offer me exactly that. Time will tell where exactly that will be, I’m sure.

What did you like the most from your education that helps you out nowadays in your work?

In my opinion, the project work was among the most valuable parts of the education we got during my time at the Aviation Academy. Learning to work with different people in a structured manner has really prepared me for what the future brought, and I am still seeing the benefits. Creating structure in not just your work but also your thought process has been proven very beneficial to me. I also believe that the countless presentations have given me the ability to really develop my communication skills. One thing I have learned over the years is that clear and direct communication is a very valuable skill to have.

Are you still connected with the Aviation Academy?

Yes – I am actually still in touch with some of my old classmates as well! BA has a fantastic outreach programme which has given me the ability to return to the Aviation Academy on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my guest lecture this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but I am sure we will be back next year. I also must admit that I really enjoy reading the NOTAM updates from the SVAAA, they are very entertaining and offer a great window into the current curriculum.