David Newington is commercial director, Asia Pacific at AirPlus International, based in Singapore, a role he has held since Oct-2017. Previously he served for almost seven years as general manager, Australia, where he was responsible for the profitable growth of AirPlus International activity in the country. Prior to joining AirPlus International in early 2011 he held roles with global travel management company FCm Travel Solutions as general manager in Singapore and director of global sales in North America.
What is your current role and what three words would you use to describe your role?
Commercial Director Asia Pacific at AirPlus International. Diverse, accountable, people-focused.
Where do you call home?
Australia, but I currently live in Singapore.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Most weeks I’m travelling, so I have two types of days. If I’m travelling, my day starts with a run, then breakfast while reading the local newspaper. That’s followed by meetings throughout the day and ends with a dinner meeting. I rarely have any time for sightseeing. If I’m not travelling, I’ll start my day by reviewing the critical emails that have come through overnight and checking the previous day’s numbers. Usually I’ll then have a meeting with a client, prospect, merchant or technical partner, so I’ll tick one thing off the to do list before the meeting. Following the meeting I’ll have another go at the list of to do’s. That will be followed by calls with colleagues at our head office in Germany.
What are your main ambitions for the next 12 months in your role?
I have three main goals for 2019. The first is to help AirPlus APAC employees live by our agile values and principles. The second is to introduce a localised payment method in China. The third is to launch virtual payment in Japan and Singapore.
What is the biggest obstacle currently influencing the corporate travel industry?
The inability to capture a consistent quality of enhanced data from every travel merchant.
What’s the best and worst career advice you have been given?
Best? “Your time is worth more than money”. If you are going to do a job, then make sure you are gaining more than just a paycheck from it. At the same time make sure you are delivering more than just the value of your paycheck. Worst? “Take the position, it’s a promotion”. Sometimes you’re not yet ready for the added responsibility which can lead to missed learnings and opportunities.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
Randy Bresnik, the current commander of the International Space Station.
What does the corporate travel industry mean to you?
Interaction: For a huge global industry led by technology, it is driven by people meeting with people.
What book did you read last?
‘Destined for War’ by Graham Allison.
What are your three most used words/phrases?
“Thank you my friend”, “Mate” and “Could you please help me?”
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
What is your favourite travel technology (current or old)?
The aircraft. But if I had to pick a techy thing it would be my noise cancelling headphones.
Window or aisle seat?
Aisle, so I have the freedom to move.
Favourite flying tip?
Bring your own eyeshades. They work like a mental trigger to put you to sleep.
Favourite travel spot? Or where would you like to go on a dream vacation
Sailing in the Whitsunday islands.
Which four individuals, living or dead, would you like to eat dinner with the most?
Barry Sheene, Francis Chichester, Bernard Cornwell and my father.
What do you do to relax?
Read historical fiction in the bath.
What keeps you awake at night?
Thinking about how to ensure my children are prepared for their future.
What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
People would be surprised if they knew?
I originally wanted to be a journalist.
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