Atlas Around the World: Meet Regional Manager Shige Fukuda

Shige Fukuda image

  1. Where is your station located; what is unique about it?
    I am based in Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO) in Ise Bay, Tokoname City in Japan. NGO is unique as the only station in our network to operate both the LCF and Polar 767/747s.
  2. What makes your most proud about your specific location? 

I am very proud of how our team has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. China has produced a significant amount of PPE for shipment around the world. Thanks to our strong and experienced team, we have been able to handle all of these extra shipments and get these critical supplies to where they are most needed.

  1. Is there any specific cargo that is unique to your station?

NGO handles parts for the 787. More than 30% of all B787 aircrafts are built from parts that are made in Japan. The main wings, fuselage and the wingbox are all manufactured in the vicinity of NGO. We then ship the parts to Everett, Washington and Charleston, South Carolina using our Boeing Dreamlifter (LCF) aircrafts.

  1. Which local holidays affect business at your station?  

Golden Week and Christmas affect our business the most. Golden Week is a collection of national holidays that fall within seven days, which include:

  • Showa Day (Showa no hi): The birthday of former Emperor Showa, who died in the year 1989.
  • Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi): The day the new postwar constitution went into effect, in 1947.
  • Greenery Day (Midori no hi): This day is dedicated to the environment and nature, because Emperor Shōwa Hirohito (who lived from 1901 to 1989) loved plants and nature.

Our staff works in shifts, so they have days off, which are equally distributed throughout these holidays. We all work hard to keep the airplanes moving safely for our customers. Regardless of the country in which they are based, our staff always thinks outside the box to overcome any challenges.

unya Tamura (NGO MX Manager), Shige, Satoshi Umemura (NGO Line Maintenance), Pete Dylan (Contract MX), Takeshi Oya (UGSE MX), Takayuki Tomita (UGSE Supervisor)

Pre COVID, left to right, Junya Tamura (NGO MX Manager), Shige, Satoshi Umemura (NGO Line Maintenance), Pete Dylan (Contract MX), Takeshi Oya (UGSE MX), Takayuki Tomita (UGSE Supervisor)

  1. What is the scope of operations at your stations? 

Our team includes 16 Ground Operations staff members across 11 stations: Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), Hangzhou International Airport (HGH), Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH), Changsha Huanghua International Airport (CSX), Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO), Narita International Airport (NRT), Sunan Shuofang International Airport (WUX), Nanchang Changbei International Airport (KHN), Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) and Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG). We also have other airports we don’t have a station, so our staff would travel to cover the flights and also receive support from local vendor companies throughout the region, which helps us ensure that everything runs seamlessly for our customers.

Shige (center) with NGO team.

Pre COVID, Shige (center) with NGO team.

  1. How long has Atlas/Polar been operating in your location?  

Atlas has been flying in NGO since 2010 and Polar since 2013

  1. What inspired you to get involved in aviation? 

When I was younger and lived in Los Angeles, my father took me to airshows. While the airshows themselves did not motivate me at that particular time, the experience of seeing them remained with me. When I graduated from high school and was getting ready to decide on which direction to move towards in my life, working with airplanes felt natural to me. I enrolled in a technical college where I majored in airport business. I loved the movie Top Gun, which also inspired me to get into aviation!

  1. What is your most memorable moment or favorite story during your time with AAWW? 

At Atlas, there are opportunities to broaden horizons, expand skillsets, and learn new skills outside of your current job and responsibilities. Opening up new stations is always challenging and interesting.  The most memorable time for me was when we opened up NGO. At the time, NGO was only a charter station. My first task was to open an office to handle the LCF flights. The office was small; it did not even have windows. It was a tough undertaking but it was an incredible experience. I learned so much! Today, NGO has grown to handle the LCF and Polar 767 and 747s and now our office has many large windows with plenty of sunshine.

  1. What is your native language? What is one word you would use to describe your job or Atlas (in your language)? 

My native language is Japanese and the word I would use to describe my experience at Atlas would be “挑戦” which roughly translates to “challenge” in English.