Tan Sri Ravindran Menon

Executive Director of Subang Skypark

A self-made man who began his career out of college selling Enid Blyton books translated into Bahasa Malaysia, Tan Sri Ravindran Menon has blazed a trail by rejuvenating the old Subang airport. His vision has turned this dormant asset into the highly successful Skypark terminal, which handles over three million passengers on commercial flights as well as private aviation movements. His continued stewardship of Skypark as its fixed-base operator (FBO) bodes well for the business elite and Malaysia’s jet owners, with an even more spectacular facility in the offing.

On how the Subang Skypark started
In 2007, I spoke to the government about realising a corporate aviation centre at Subang, a dormant asset that had a 747 runway. We went on a fact-finding mission to New York, Zurich and Farnborough to see how these business-executive aviation airports are run. Skypark recalls the best of these locations, with nearby hangars for parking and cleaning jets. There is also the added convenience of having your jet park in front of the terminal building and clearing customs, immigration and quarantine in double-quick time. There’s barely any downtime, which is great for clients who have flown across continents for hours on end.

On the Skypark’s success
Since we began in 2008, we have grown from three movements on a daily average to more than 25 movements each day. The business aviation centre has received Hillary Clinton as the-then secretary of state, the Korean president, the sultan of Brunei and Barack Obama, among many others.

On the future
Our aim now is to build a new facility of between 10,000 and 15,000 sq.ft by 2019, which will offer a kerbside drop-off for extra safety and privacy, with a lounge, retail attractions, cigar divan and other amenities. Some of them, such as a gym and crew restrooms, are already present within the current set-up. We have also purposefully created large reception areas to cater for Asian clients who usually arrive with a large send-off party.

On ambitions
Ultimately, we want to promote Skypark to the world. Skypark is, for now, the best means of access to Kuala Lumpur for the business-executive aviation class, and our commercial hub for Firefly and Malindo airlines will continue to grow, with the numbers showing a ten-fold increase from 2008 to the three million we do today via Firefly and Malindo. A new train station in the coming year will provide extra ease of transport.

On what drives success
My most important piece of advice came from the headmaster of a school whom I had waited patiently for two months to get a meeting with. I visited the school every day and finally, at the end of the second month, I spoke to him as he was driving out – I asked him if he had two minutes and we ended up speaking for 45 minutes! At the end of it, he told me that to achieve success, I had to continue persevering. This is the lesson the new generation should learn; they show lots of excitement initially but lack the stamina to persevere. Even if the immediate answer is no, one should not take no as the answer.

Sign up for our Newsletters

Stay up to date with our latest series