Interview: Yu-Ming Sie – Commerical Director Air France KLM Korea

Poll your average job seeker worldwide, and the boxes you’d likely find checked for the ‘ideal business position’ would be a combination of the following: travel, cultural experience, challenging work and a dynamic business environment.

Yu-Ming Sie, commercial director of Air France KLM in Korea, is one of those who’s lucky enough to check all of the boxes.

The 39-year-old Sie, who graduated with a degree in marketing and international management from the Amsterdam School of Business, is effusive on how much he loves his work.


“I am a very curious person, so I love to learn about new cultures and I enjoy a good challenge,” says Sie. Having been in Korea for the past year and a half, he feels he’s found that the pairing of a European company and a Korean team is well-suited to his management style.

“As a manager, my goal is to put together the best team possible. I think it’s a great mix to be a European company with a Korean team. In the end, we are both creative and pragmatic and have created an open work environment that seeks to truly empower people. So, I really love that combination and the challenge.”

“As a manager, my goal is to put together the best team possible. I think it’s a great mix to be a European company with a Korean team.”

Yu-Ming Sie joined KLM in 2002, serving in several management positions, such as commercial director of Air France KLM for Belgium and Luxembourg and as a senior inventory analyst for Central and South Europe. But it seems working in the airline industry has always been in the cards for Sie.


“During college I worked in the airport as a bartender,” he recalls with a smile. “It was great, I got to meet a lot of people and it was always interesting.”

Since Sie has come to Korea, he’s overseen a 15% increase in overall sales for the country.

Sie attributes the success of Air France KLM to several different factors.

He says that one of the most attractive features for Korean flyers to Europe is the convenience of the night flight of KLM and the combinability option with either Air France and Korean Air.

“It allows you to save time and spend maximum time in Europe,” says Sie. “Friday night you can meet for dinner here. Take your time, have a drink. Then you depart at 1 a.m. and arrive in Amsterdam at 5 a.m. You can stay in Amsterdam, if you like, or fly to Paris or London, arriving at 8 a.m. It’s a great way to optimize your travel time.”

Air France korea

“I am very proud,” he says. “I think we have one of the best seats now, the Full Flat. It’s fantastic. It’s two meters, and it feels really good; I mean, you can really sleep.”

“One of the most important and unique services is our 24-hour customer service in 10 different languages, which we are especially proud of. Another is our strong presence in social media. Air France KLM is considered the leading airline group in social media.”

One innovative promotion the company did recently was “Meet and Seat.” Sie explains, “If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can check in and see who is on the same KLM flight and you can choose to sit next to that interesting person.”

The Burgeoning Korean Market

Considering that an astounding 10 million Koreans traveled abroad last year, the country is on the radar of all the major airlines for being one of the most attractive developing markets. More promising is that it offers a great combination of both business and leisure travelers.

“The mix here is very good,” says Sie. “You have corporate travel combined with a good mix of leisure travel. That’s why it’s a very attractive market for Air France KLM.”

So what does Sie think about his new home?

“I like it a lot,” he says. “I think it’s very trendy and fast. You see that with all the gadgets, but you also see that in the people and the way they work. They react very fast and it’s very positive.”

This article was also run on Haps Magazine


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