Just weeks ago, I listened to two British Airways captains as they presented a workshop aimed towards informing inspiring pilots about the journey to the flight deck and providing advice and support for selection. Whilst discussing their journey they highlighted that the Aviation industry was a volatile one and despite having a world renowned Air Transport Pilots Licence, you may still find yourselves in a job and an industry you are forced to work in to make a living. At the time I took note, never thinking that such a time was so close to happening once more…
COVID-19 presents many challenges worldwide and is without a doubt a global crisis of epic proportion. I’m no scientist or medical professional so cannot speculate as to the nature of the virus and it’s epidemiology. That being said, I am very disconcerted with regards to it’s effect on the global aviation industry and to those pilots looking for jobs, those in training and those aspiring to one day sit at the business-end of a commercial aircraft.
From an early stage you are always told about ‘The Right Time’ to train whilst others will encourage you to ‘Get training sorted as soon as possible and get applying to airlines’. Why? The reason is becoming clear. It is fair to say that airlines have been struggling for some time now. Some more than others. The collapse of Thomas Cook in late 2019 was a huge blow to the UK industry and the subsequent troubles at Flybe began to cast doubt as to the security and integrity of the aviation industry at present. These issues have been further exacerbated by the issues surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX and of course, Brexit. COVID-19 has come at a time where the Aviation industry in the UK is close to falling to it’s knees. Of course things may improve sooner than anticipated, only time will tell. Despite this, the current uncertainty, the drop in demand, weak economy, surplus of pilots and lack of consumer confidence is likely to make 2020 an exceptionally challenging year.
Like most of us, I foolishly watched on as China suffered its epidemic, never thinking the same could happen in Europe let alone the UK. The fat controller laughed. We were very wrong. We are now beginning to see some of the drastic consequences of the crisis as it unfolds day by day and hour by hour. I have since come to realise that this is much bigger than any individuals dreams, aspirations and plans. For now my ambition and training is on hold.
Despite this, I’m very thankful that I am in employment within a Hospital, able to get out of the house and do all I can, no matter how small my part in the bigger picture. The more we can all help in this scenario, the less deaths and therefore the less pain for all.
Yes, the economy will be weak. Yes we may end up in a recession. Yes there may be no or few jobs at the end. Then it will be a case of taking stock and trying to work out our next moves, whatever they may be. Whether these be an application in aviation or not. We’ll all get to where we want to be, it just may take some more time and effort.
In the meantime, stay safe, adhere to government regulations and utilise your time well. Use it to prepare for exams, interviews, applications and your future once this crisis has come to an end.