At a challenging time like this, particularly in aviation, it could appear a little incongruous to consider enrolling on a full-time ATPL IR course, but in the right circumstances, it could be a very good idea. We can see that globally, aviation is being challenged, particularly in the passenger airline space; however we know this is a direct function of the current COVID-19 situation. Once immunity either by vaccine or through herd immunity is secured, there is no reason why international air travel will not return to previous high levels. This is not only Skyborne’s opinion, but a widely held view within our industry.
For certain individuals who might be considering a career change, either voluntarily or enforced due to redundancy from their current profession, commencing a professional training course, such as ATPL IR, could be a smart move.
We often hear that starting a new, 20-month training course in a boom period can be a little demoralising, especially if individuals consider a perceived loss of seniority by starting a course. During that 20-month period, an airline like easyJet or Ryanair will typically recruit several hundred pilots, which can lead individuals to a feeling of somehow “losing out” on the seniority list.
However, commencing training now, while most airlines are standing still, means a pilot will not lose out in terms of seniority. If a candidate is in the position to train during this period, then there is a reasonable chance airlines will re-commence recruitment in 18 months to two years’ time. It is unlikely any recruitment freeze would last longer than three years from now, so Skyborne’s Skills Continuation Training policy will offer an extended period of security; particularly if the candidate can return to a current/alternative job while awaiting airline placement.
We would never entice or coerce anyone to leave a secure job at such times, but I reiterate, for certain people who are presented with the opportunity, this could be the ideal time.
We have the benefit of having seen similar cessations in recruitment before. However, we should consider two contrasting scenarios when we attempt to compare previous events: the 9/11 terror attacks on 11th September 2001 and the Global Financial Crisis in 2007/8. The former was a spontaneous situation that directly hit and affected our industry. It sparked a cascade of changes from increased security through to not allowing customers, and pilots of the future, in the flight deck. The latter was a global recession that took some time to get into and several years to recover from. The global economy was under threat. Growth in all sectors crashed and the aviation industry was no exception. For me, COVID-19 has been an external blow to our industry, but not to all industries, which means it is not a global economic crisis in the same way that we saw in 2007/8. Logistics, food and pharmaceuticals are thriving. Whilst the FTSE 100 and the Dow Jones took a hit initially, they are starting to recover. This is because the underlying health of most economies is sound.
Whilst everyone acknowledges that the current situation is deeply damaging, the prospects and the business of international air travel remain buoyant. This is why the directors of Skyborne are unperturbed. It’s not blind optimism on our part; more taking a long-term view.