People always believe that determination and hard work will get you where you want to go. For Kugan Tangiisuran, a despatch boy who later became a First Officer (Co-Pilot) is proof that sheer perseverance and a desire to do well in life will take you places! 

Let’s take a look at Kugan’s story and quest to become a pilot.

Kugan’s love of flying began when he was a kid. But his passion for planes started sitting in the driving seat on the open road, not wide-open skies. Hailing from Penang, he used to watch planes land and take off from close range at Penang International Airport. 

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Image Credit: AirAsia

However, due to some financial issues, he had to put his dream on hold because his family couldn’t afford to pay his tuition fee which required him to follow the pilot training course, meaning enrolling in a flying school.

Right after he completed his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination, he pursued his tertiary studies at a college in Penang. Despite waiting for his dream job to land at his door step, he worked at several hotels to earn some pocket moneys. 

In 2006, Kugan was given the position of dispatch at AirAsia and accepted it without any hesitation as what mattered the most was to land a pilot job. He passed the test to become a cadet pilot in the same year but was unable to continue due to some policies which required him to have work experience for at least two years at his current agency. Hence, he continued to deliver letters and perform dispatch duties while pursuing his dream of one day becoming a pilot. 

Image Credit: Harian Metro

The young lad had applied 11 times and sat for four qualification tests, despite multiple setbacks. In 2013, he passed all of the required exams and enrolled in the Asia Pacific Flight Training (APFT) program in Kota Bharu for 15 months. 

In June 2015, he completed the entire course, and AirAsia boss Tan Sri Tony Fernandes mentioned his inspiring story on stage during the graduation ceremony. Tony was on the verge of tears while sharing the inspiring tale of Kugan. 

When you have a goal and dream, don’t bother about the obstacles that are stopping you from achieving it today or tomorrow; instead, aim further ahead in life, because the barriers will gradually be removed or vanish. It is the choices you make at each stage of life that will determine whether you have a regret or a success story.

Now, Kugan can finally proudly tell the world that – he’s a pilot!

This is how a diligent man Kugan earned his wings and took to the air. He has since been promoted to the rank of First Officer (Co-Pilot) and continues to fly AirAsia planes to this day.