From the Flight Deck

The Battles of Aviation

Captain Michel Treskin

Good morning folks from the flight deck. This is your Captain speaking. We are currently

flying at 39,000 feet, going 900 km/h. The temperature outside is a warm minus 45˚C, but the temperature at our destination is plus 28˚C. We have another three hours of flying before

reaching our destination. So, sit back, relax and enjoy our hospitality. Thank you for flying with us.

Oh boy, do I miss flying. The good old days are gone.

I remember flying with the cockpit door open at all times but that changed after 9/11. It took a while for the aviation sector to rebound after these tragic events. The whole industry had to

re-think security measures and it has never been the same.

Nowadays, passengers are used to an hour wait in line for airport security and a detailed check in. The world adapted and it almost returned to normal. Currently, cockpits are the equivalent to vaults with armed doors. So impersonal, if you ask me. Though, a few pilots will come out of the cockpit once the plane has returned to the gate to thank passengers.

The financial crisis of 2008 was another event that made a significant difference in the

aviation industry. So many people, including myself, lost a bucket full of money. Flying was reduced, but it was more of a financial hardship than anything else.

 

Sometime later, the aviation world witnessed several incidents and accidents involving a new commercial jet called Boeing 737 MAX. The Lion Air flight 610 on October 29, 2018, and

Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 on March 10, 2019, urged the grounding of this aircraft model around the world.

Why can’t there be a plane in which the pilot will always have the option to take control of the aircraft completely if needed? After all, that is what we are paid for.

The travelling public became scared and the whole fleet was grounded. As a result, many pilots were laid off.

An interview with FAA

Administrator, Stephen Dickson, was published by USA Today on June 17, 2020 indicating the COVID-19 pandemic has also

delayed the already long process

of thoroughly scrutinizing the aircraft systems.

It has taken almost two years for Boeing to correct the glitches in the software.

Aviation, along with every other industry in the world, has been severely impacted in an unprecedented manner by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been a year since the aviation industry began experiencing what can be considered its

worst collapse in history. Thousands of professional pilots, mechanics, Air Traffic Controllers, Airport Fire Fighters, ground personnel, all the commercial businesses in each airport around the world, flight academies, and corporate jets have been affected one way or another by this worldwide tragedy.

The percentage of all professional pilots who have lost their jobs, or have been furloughed, surpass 60 per cent. Regional airlines have ceased operations, and Asian carriers have fired all expat pilots. The devastation has, and will, cost everyone dearly. The whole world will never be the same. Ever!

Or will it?

At this very moment, the future of aviation might not look promising; especially if you are a youngster contemplating a career in

aviation.

Equally, those that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars now wait upon a darkened promise that once they obtained

their license, a job would be waiting for them. How discouraging must this be since air travel has been reduced to a bare minimum?

Who wants to travel and be quarantined in a hotel for 14 days — at your own cost? This situation needs to be controlled sooner than later by whatever means necessary in order to make air travel attractive again.

We might be looking at a vaccine passport in the near future. I have read, for example, that Spanish authorities will keep a registry of those who refuse to be vaccinated, but it is unclear what or how they will use the information.

But enough of the bad news. Time to check out the bright side. This pandemic will be

controlled, and eventually life will get back to normal. People will start to travel again. It is part of our DNA, human nature, a predisposition in our blood, so to speak.

People will want and need to take a long, well-deserved break after what we have been through. I predict air travel will spike considerably in the next year or two as citizens around the

world will want to get away from the confines of their residence and even countries.

Interestingly, the reality for aviation is that we will be facing a pilot shortage as soon as this pandemic is under control. CAE, Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd, has predicted that this year alone, the world will need an excess of 26,000 new pilots, and over the next 10 years, it will need over 250,000.

“Excuse me? How could that be,” you ask.

Many pilots who were close to retirement became redundant

at the beginning of the pandemic, and took an early retirement.

Furthermore, the maximum age to be an airline pilot is 65, and some countries have established a maximum of 60. Another factor to take into consideration is that the new generation is understandably not too keen in investing large amounts of money in an industry that is struggling.

Generally speaking, it’s between $120,000—150,000 US to get a multi-engine commercial license. Nonetheless, and taking into consideration the estimated numbers, I think this is the best time to start a career in aviation.

I personally believe aviation is not dead. It has survived and recovered from other crises and will begin anew. Maybe a little slower and more cautiously, but my bet is we will find ourselves “almost” back to normal operations within two years. The world needs aviation and cannot live without it. Could you imagine not being able to travel except by boat or rail? Or travel at all?

Stay safe everyone.