The circumstances within which we find ourselves globally is unprecedented, and for an industry that is so cash flow dependent, disastrous.I have always believed that no matter what it is we do professionally and however we live privately, at some time and somewhere along the line, we will trip up.
Sometimes it is a scraped knee and sometimes we fall flat on our face. At the moment, as a whole, I would argue that as an industry we are in the latter category.What differentiates us as individuals and as companies is how we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, assess the damage and work out how to move forward.
Lashing out at everybody around, getting the lawyers in to sue the property owner and demanding a helping hand is one way of dealing with the issue. The alternative is by way of reflection and accepting support where offered and by being better equipped for the next journey through experience.So why am I so disappointed? Well, it is because of a growing realisation that ‘politics of the air’ is creeping into the fray and the chess piece being used is, sadly, people. Without any shadow of a doubt, it is the men and women within the industry that are the very heart of it, giving their all to deliver, day and night. They are the people that designed, manufactured, supplied, built and operated the machines of the industry that allowed profits to grow and dividends to be taken.
Right now, however, in some instances, they are being used in a game of political chicken. As soon as I see operators and manufacturers banding around ‘potential’ redundancies in the tens of thousands it gets my attention and everyone else’s, not least of course, the employees. Note the use of the word ‘potential’.
Can you imagine for a second what is going on in the households of people all over the world and the conversations they are having? I know, because as well as being an employer, I have been on the other side of the fence as an employee, with companies having folded underneath me.There is a lot of talk, certainly in the UK about the secondary effects from Covid-19 as a result of the devastating economic impact on society and people’s mental health.
So where am I going with this? Well, to put it bluntly, a plea on behalf of those who have been there before and for those who find themselves there today; remember that it is people you will need tomorrow so please don’t play politics with their lives. This is for real.I accept that tough decisions and in turn actions have to be taken to protect businesses, but it has to be with compassion and dignity. Surely it is the least we can do.
Steve Ford is the author of 20 West: A journey through six decades of turbulent change within aviation. Ford trained as a professional aircraft engineer and holds aircraft engineering licences both sides of the Atlantic, having served a full apprenticeship with British Caledonian Airways.