The worst Farnborough Airshow yet?

The worst Farnborough Airshow yet?

Despite Farnborough International Airshow once being hailed as one of the biggest events in the aviation calendar, many plane enthusiasts took to social media after the event to vent their frustrations and disappointment after no aerobatics were performed by the Red Arrows for the second show in a row.

One visitor posted, “Gutted about the lack of Red Arrows display. And I use the word display lightly as a flypast certainly doesn’t cover it for me. And they were one of the main reasons we went. Highly unlikely we’ll be going again.”

Another claimed, “I’ve lived around Farnborough many years and the Red Arrows were always the highlight of the show, that flypast was a joke.”

“That flypast was a joke.”

So why no aerobatics?

The RAF outfit ordinarily takes its guidance from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on where they can perform stunts. However the CAA claim that the decision not to include high speed aerobatic manoeuvres in their Farnborough display is taken independently.

An RAF spokesman claimed that the performances are “no longer suitable” at Farnborough due to large amounts of “local housing, business areas and major transport links underneath the planned display area.”

They continued, “The Red Arrows will continue to complete flypasts in different formations, these together with more exciting opportunities for the public to engage with the Red Arrows team on the ground, and other RAF air and ground displays will ensure the Airshow remains a truly exciting, inspirational and entertaining family event.”

It’s suspected that the decision was directly linked to the Shoreham Airshow crash of 2015 when an ex-military jet crashed during a show killing 11 people and injuring 16. The aircraft, a Hawker Hunter T7, failed to complete a loop manoeuvre and subsequently plummeted onto the A27 road below. Despite the official investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch concluding that the crash resulted from pilot error, restrictions on high-energy aerobatic manoeuvres during airshows were introduced, limiting them to simple flypasts. Flypasts do not constitute as ‘display flying’ and so do not normally require the intervention of a public display authority.

 

Further disappointment for visitors

Back at the 2018 Farnborough show, visitors were furthermore unimpressed by the price of tickets, food and drink and the organisation of the event. One visitor said “I have attended the airshow most years since I was a child. 2018 will be my last year. What an absolutely atrocious event. I have never been so disappointed. This year I encouraged many other family members to come with us and needless to say I was super embarrassed. The show was an absolute joke. I will definitely not be coming again.”

Another visitor claimed, “Parking was abysmal – paid for priority park, but rude attendants wouldn’t tell us how to get to it, and told us general parking was ‘as good as we’d get’. Our free programme never eventuated, no one seemed to know where we collected it.”  

A spokesperson for Farnborough said, “Whilst we have also had positive feedback and comments, it is disappointing to hear that this year’s show fell short of some people’s expectations.There are aspects of the show that are beyond our control but we understand that expectations of Farnborough are high, so we will be listening to customers’ feedback and ensuring we shape the 2020 Airshow to try and address them.”

The perfect storm: Why the pilot shortage crisis rumbles on

The perfect storm: Why the pilot shortage crisis rumbles on

The pilot shortage crisis is not new news in the world of aviation, but with new aircraft set to enter the global fleet, the demand for pilots is expected to rise dramatically in the next two decades. Boeing predict that 790,000 new pilots will be needed by 2037 to meet demand, with 96,000 of those required for the business aviation sector alone.

Airbus set their predicted figure at 450,000 by 2035 – although considerably less than Boeing’s prediction, the gap between demand and supply will only furthermore add to the crisis. CEO of Alerion Aviation, Bob Seidel has warned that the pilot shortage could seriously threaten the private aviation sector.

Traditionally private aviation required the most experienced pilots who could provide the highest level of service, including being extremely flexible, to their VIP passengers. They would thus be paid handsomely for their services. However, as the private and commercial airline sectors battle to attract the same pool of qualified pilots, the commercial airlines are currently triumphing by offering higher salaries and benefits that private jet operators just can’t match.

 

Why is the problem getting worse?

Over the past 30 years, a number of dynamics have occurred on the commercial side including social economic factors such as aging. The demographic of ‘Baby Boomer’ pilots who make up 50% of today’s pilots are due to retire soon – significantly reducing the amount of qualified and experienced pilots available to employ.   

Another factor affecting the industry is the ‘1,500 hour rule’ which took effect in the U.S in 2013 as a safety measure after the Colgan Air 3407 crash in 2009. The new rule stated that First Officers needed to have accrued 1,500 hours of flight time to qualify for their Air Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate – 1,250 more hours than the previous 250 hours rule. Furthermore, ATP pilots were required to gain an additional 1,000 flight hours to qualify as a captain. While well-intentioned, the new rules are only adding to the pilot shortage crisis. With higher levels of experience required, competition to attract experienced pilots is fierce.  

Seidel said “At 1,500 flight hours, that’s the level of people that we have as a minimum. Airlines have been stealing pilots from the private jet industries with higher salaries and free flights. They are winning the hearts and minds of a lot of pilots. We’ve even lost captains with 4,000 hours and more; airlines lure them away with offers of fixed schedules, fixed days on and off, as well as high salaries and free travel. It has gotten to be very competitive.”

He continued, “It’s a perfect storm: demographic shift, regulatory changes, and socio-economic factors.”

 

“It’s a perfect storm: demographic shift, regulatory changes, and socio-economic factors.”

What about the rest of the world?

As expected, the pilot shortage crisis resonates right around the world. However, commercial airlines in areas such as Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are attracting pilots with inclusive packages in sunnier climates that are hard to refuse.

Some Emirates packages include furnished accommodation, utilities bills, relocation costs, education allowances (for your children,) medical insurance, personal accident insurance, your pension and loss of license insurance – and that’s on top of tax-free earnings. Seidel said, “A lot of people have jumped ship to be expats to places that are flush with cash that will pay exorbitant amounts. That’s also a drain.”

However, he also noted, “The flip side to that is that it wears on you after a few years unless you are really adapted to a new culture. After you do it for three or four years, you need to get back to whatever it is that you miss.”

 

So what’s the solution?

One of the biggest factors affecting the crisis is time, as the age of retirement for many current pilots is creeping up.

There are many initiatives to recruit and train more pilots in progress right around the world, but as with any training period, it does take time. Also, while the new recruits will alleviate some of the pressures long term, it won’t compensate for the impending decline of experienced pilots who are set to retire soon.

Seidel suggests that a possible option to alleviate the issue is relaxing the rules around the age of retirement. He muses, “People are very healthy and active and interested in continuing to work past their 60s” these days.

While safety will always be of paramount importance, he also flagged that flight hours alone might not be the best way to measure experience. He said, “There is a whole spectrum of capabilities represented [in the market]. Some are pretty young and green but outstanding, and some very experienced but not that good. We have to come up with different ways that recognise skills other than flight hours.”

Whether there becomes some flexibility around retirement ages or shifts on measuring experience remains to be seen, but what’s sure is that this problem isn’t set to fully resolve itself anytime soon – and how that will affect the growth of global aviation in the future is a question which remains unanswered.  

EASA reveals new rules on mental fitness for crew members

EASA reveals new rules on mental fitness for crew members

On March 24th 2015, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately caused an Airbus A320-211 to crash, killing all 144 passengers and 6 crew members, despite being previously treated for suicidal tendencies and declared ‘unfit for work’ by his doctor.

After reaching cruise altitude and while the captain had momentarily left the cockpit, Lubitz locked the door and initiated a controlled descent that continued until the aircraft impacted a mountainside in the French Alps, 62 miles north-west of Nice.

The immediate response to the incident was the recommendation (by the European Aviation Safety Agency / EASA) of always having at least two crew members in the cockpit during the entire duration of the flight, one of course being a pilot. Many airlines adopted this policy voluntarily in the aftermath.

More than three years on, new European rules surrounding the mental health and fitness of crew members have just been revealed by the European Union, following advice from the EASA and the wider aviation community. The new rules include the following safety measures:

  • Support programme: all pilots working for European airlines will have access to a support programme that will assist and support pilots in recognising, coping with, and overcoming problems which might negatively affect their ability to safely exercise the privileges of their licence.
  • Alcohol testing: As an additional safety barrier, alcohol testing of pilots and cabin crew for all European and foreign airlines who fly into the territories of the European Union, has been added. Alcohol testing is already a well-established practice in some member states and with this regulation alcohol testing will now be extended to all EU member states within the next two years.
  • Psychological assessment: European airlines will perform a psychological assessment of their pilots before the start of employment.

EASA’s Executive Director, Patrick Ky said, “ With these rules Europe introduces the right tools to safeguard the mental fitness of air crew. During the two year transition period, EASA will actively support European and international stakeholders in implementing this new regulation.”

 

Airbus launches pilot training programme with Escuela de Aviacion Mexico

Airbus launches pilot training programme with Escuela de Aviacion Mexico

As Airbus forecast that 540,000 new pilots would be needed in the next two decades to meet with global demand, they have followed up this prediction with the launch of a new global cadet pilot training programme, to include ab initio training. After partnering with Escuela de Aviacion Mexico (EAM,) the first course is due to commence early next year. Upon completion of that course, the cadets will continue their training at the nearby Airbus Mexico Training centre in the aim of qualifying as an Airbus A320 pilot.

Cadets will benefit from a complete and fully integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) programme and qualify as an “operationally-ready pilot.”

EAM said, “Global standards set by the Airbus Flight Training reference will ensure harmonised high quality training.”

Airbus are also offering a bridge course from local licence to an EASA licence.

Airbus has been offering training courses for nearly 50 years now and has always taken a comprehensive and innovative approach via its unique cockpit commonality concept and the regular introduction of the latest technologies and learning concepts. 

Airbus tripled its training locations worldwide in the last few years. With an extensive and growing global network, Airbus has created a complete flight training package, allowing its customers to benefit from its training expertise closer to their home base, ensuring a wider range of competent candidates make it to the cockpit.

 

Join the programme

To enter the programme, you must be over the age of 18, and have graduated from high school. Potential candidates will undergo screening tests throughout the process.

Aviation Job Search attends the House of Commons

Aviation Job Search attends the House of Commons

Last month, our Managing Director Dave Capper and Manager Imraan Rasul attended the prestigious House of Commons reception for an evening of networking and socialising with some of the biggest names in the transport and aviation industry.

Over 170 industry professionals came together enjoying Pimms and canapes on the sunny terrace, including Chris Grayling, Grant Shapps, Leo Docherty and Baroness Sugg.

The event provides an opportunity to meet with ministers, MPs and other government officials who support and help in the endeavour to make General Aviation work for the economy of this country and Europe. The event, organised by the BBGA, and sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace, the Close Brothers and Clyde and Co was hailed a roaring success by its organisers.

Many of the attendees were in town due to the Farnborough International Airshow which was happening just 40 miles from Westminster. Farnborough Airshow itself attracted the Prime Minister Theresa May who kicked off the event with a speech promising a “solution” which “respects the referendum result” and does what is “best for our global trading ambitions.” She was accompanied by astronaut Tim Peake who was also at Farnborough to assist with students interested in a career in aerospace aviation.

 

 

The Aviation Festival returns this September

The Aviation Festival returns this September

The Aviation Festival returns again this September at the Business Design Centre in London. During the world class conference, you can be inspired by over 300 speakers from some of the world’s most successful airports and airlines, as well as testing 100s of the latest products and technologies.

The conference (5th – 7th September) covers content around numerous topics including revenue management, customer loyalty and social media strategies. The full agenda for the conference can be found here.

The exhibition (6th – 7th) features over 150 companies who will be showcasing the latest products, services and technologies. This is just a taste of what you can expect from the exhibition:

  • Testing the very latest high-end products and innovative solutions on the exhibition floor and enjoy live product demonstrations
  • Enjoy numerous networking opportunities with the 3,000 visitors attending the show
  • Assess your competition and give a new edge to your business
  • Stay up to date with the latest industry trends and adapt to a fast evolving market
  • Experience the future of the aviation industry in the AR/VR zone
  • Listen to industry leaders during our live on-floor interviews
  • Join in a variety of on-floor competitions and other exciting activities

 

Who should visit?

This event attracts an international audience from over 100 countries. If you’re involved in the following sectors and looking for new products and solutions, new ways of increasing productivity, lowering costs and keeping up with trends, then this is a must attend event:

  • Travel Tech Companies
  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • OTAs
  • TMCs
  • Payments
  • Distribution
  • Travel Agents
  • Travel Buyers
  • Digital Intermediaries
  • Software Support Solutions
  • Satellite Companies
  • Training and Simulation
  • Consultants
  • Transport Services

Come and meet us!

Naturally, we’ll be there during the exhibition on stand 110 so if you’re looking for your next career move, simply pop over and have a chat with one of our helpful team. We’ll also be giving out our FREE guides on ‘How to write a standout CV in the aviation industry’ so be sure to come by and get your copy.

 

Register now

The exhibition is free to attend, simply register your attendance beforehand here.