Episode 23: Rowena Kwan, from an Academia to an Expert in Air Medical Transport

The WiAA Team had the pleasure of chatting with another successful female in Aviation and her take is that it is extremely important to highlight women in the industry to inspire the future generations – leading by example.

Rowena who has 3 children was born in Hong Kong and settled in Singapore in the late 1980’s. Prior to becoming a part of Aviation, she was a faculty member at a Singapore University.

Q. Why and what made her move into Aviation?

Rowena’s husband is a doctor and she set up Chiron Flight services to support the sister company EMA Global (medical). The company was set up in 2005 but due to compliance processes, Chiron Flight Services started business in 2006 to support EMA as the medical transportation. They also have offices in the region to support their services.

Q. A little about the Medevac business from Rowena

It is simply medical evacuation from one city to another and mostly utilised by customers who have insurance policies. Although they have affiliations with hospitals and insurance companies, but, the service is available worldwide for anyone for a fee. Patients who are too ill and cannot travel on commercial flights require this service as they have the support equipment. According to Rowena, in the past it was Indonesia, in the region that had the most medical evacuation movement. But now it is not the case. It has become an option in many parts of Asia and the Middle East. For example, EMA Global will be aware of what type of medical equipment is needed for a particular medevac flight. 

Q. What challenges did she face in the beginning?

Because Rowena did not have any experience in Aviation, she had to rely heavily on the people in the industry, learn on the job and fortunately for her, she had a great team to assist her. So with the help of some pilots and flight operations personnel she set up Chiron Flight Services and built a market alongside helping EMA Global. Learning was a tough phase for her and especially with the many processes involved – for example, sourcing for the cheapest options like parking and being a small entity as compared to the multinational companies made it that much harder. 

Q. What did she face during this Covid situation?

Firstly, the travel ban has impacted the business as there are many restrictions, regulations, protocols  and SOP’s to follow. The business also requires personal contact and communication, and that makes it difficult to have medical transportation from one place to another. 

Q. What does she think about our initiative The WiAA Project and how can such initiatives move towards their objectives especially during these covid times?

Rowena states that WiAA is a very meaningful platform, whereby sharing knowledge, skills, updating each other and keeping each other informed. A platform gathering people with similar interests and intentions to build cohesiveness, to add value, and with a lot of genuine people supporting the platform.

Movement restrictions have dampened the drive but it is also a very unique opportunity – a luxury of time to revisit situations, clear backlogs and learn new things. Also, thanks to technology one can reach out to more people around the world and it can certainly be productive.

Q. In a leadership role, what is her advice to the younger generation in these current times?

She says that if anyone is keen in this industry, or has the calling, master the fundamental know-how in the field and when opportunity appears there is a new horizon in front of you. Covid has affected a lot of jobs but it has also created new posts that can be leveraged upon using the know-how to be re- employed. For example, pilots and cabin crew are being utilised to perform roles in customer service.