All over the world is well documented that in the past year a vast number of people lost their positions. In comparison with other sectors and industries, aviation suffered mostly in terms of job losses. Airlines, airport operators, ground handling companies along with many other air-transport related businesses lost a major part of their workforce. For me, the most difficult aspect is that the current air-travel climate is filled with uncertainty, fear and vagueness. In the present ambiguous circumstances, it is hard to reemploy staff. Having said that, we must remain positive.

In regard to returning to full scale operations, we have not yet seen any tremendous improvement. Media reports and shared scattered stories indicate that at some places the industry’s ‘engines’ are back on idle-running. Nonetheless, I believe that we need to concentrate on developing appropriate plans and roadmaps which could see people going back to work. Collaboration between government, public agencies, private sector and regulatory bodies will be crucial to regenerate employment and job opportunities.

We have to be creative

I remember reading some time ago, Greek philosopher Plato wrote “our need will be the real creator”. How appropriate this axiom is for today! Based on this principle, I suggest we have to be creative if this means that we redeploy staff into other areas or sectors; supposing aviation cannot take them all back at once. We shouldn’t forget that the aviation industry has an extraordinary pool of talented and skilled people.

The UK Department of Transport’s (DfT) scheme – Aviation Skills Retention Programme – to help as many aviation people get back to work is a tremendous idea. In association with the UK CAA’s training arm, a selection of courses offered to aviation staff to support them to find employment. The global shutdown pushed thousands of employees to redundancy or to leave their job and to see this type of productive as well as pragmatic initiative it is rather encouraging.

Advice to those who plan to return to work

At the same time, it is important for job-seekers themselves to align their expectations to the existing conditions. My advice will be to adopt an open-minded approach, matching the current environment. This could perhaps mean they would have to move in a different role or changeover into another occupational field. Accepting this form of reality could remove a degree of stress.

On a similar note, it makes sense for anyone who expects to return to work, to embark now on an educational – training journey. In my opinion, by refreshing or retaining skills and qualifications individuals excel against other contenders. This would prepare applicants adequately for arising opportunities allowing them to fill quickly employment gaps in the industry. I am also confident that a critical review of personal priorities and objectives today could help individuals to achieve tomorrow. Overall, following all these basic rules, job-seekers should be in an advantageous position against unprepared candidates.

Finally, my understanding is that air transport workers around the world felt abandoned during the crisis. This is because they have not received satisfactory support from either the government or their employer. Understandably, this mood produces negative thinking which brings negative feelings of anger and pessimism. Therefore, positive self-talk as well as positive affirmation can boost mental health. A number of studies have shown that thinking optimistically is good for the health and well-being.  Therefore, for me, preparing oneself to return to work and in dealing with challenging times requires a lot of positivity. We always have to remind ourselves that how we choose to focus our attention determines how we respond to situations.


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