This year, 2022, has been a big one for Bombardier. In May it stunned us with the Global 8000 and on 29 November it revealed a further order for four more of the type from NetJets. This US$312-million transaction will complete a planned fleet of 24 Global 8000s, including eight converted from Global 7500 jets already on order. In this Winter 2022 edition, we speak to Bombardier’s Stephen McCullough, VP Engineering – Chief of Aircraft Design and Development, to find out a little more about how Global 7500 becomes Global 8000.
Then, as if launching a new ultra-long range flagship model were not enough, on 30 November, Bombardier inaugurated its expanded UK service centre at Biggin Hill. A massive new facility, the centre was thronged with Globals even as preparations were being completed on a dedicated space for Bombardier’s partner in the building – F/LIST.
Happy to return to NBAA-BACE after a two-year hiatus forced by the Covid pandemic, the EVA team found inspiration among many of the exhibitors, none more so than Brian Proctor, President and CEO of Mente Group, and Richard Kane, CEO of Verijet. Both are looking forward to expansion in the US and moves into Europe, regardless of the difficult geopolitical situation and rumblings of recession. The fact that these companies operate in the business aviation sector yet fulfil very different requirements also serves to illustrate the diversity inherent in the industry, a theme EVA has examined more deeply in interviews with four leading women.
We spoke with Claudia Arnold, Senior Director of Marketing, AEGFUELS; Katie Bancroft, Associate, Jaffa & Co; Natalie Rodríguez, VVIP Aircraft Interior Designer, Natalie Rodríguez Luxury Design; and Rebekah Hill, Wellbeing & Sustainability Manager at SaxonAir, about their journey into the industry and the work they do. Between them, these four young women stand out as role models for the next generation of aviation professionals, regardless of gender.
Their example, and those of their colleagues across aviation, ought to be a powerful driving force pushing new blood into the industry. They illustrate the growing presence of women in the sector, but also its diversity of roles and diversity beyond gender. Combine this with the type of flexible working opportunity explained by Web Manuals VP of Sales, Krister Genmark, and the industry should have everything it needs to attract new talent, but there are still hurdles to overcome.
In a culture of flight shaming – the COP27 summit provided the ill-informed popular media with another opportunity to hammer business and VIP aviation – ours is not a naturally attractive industry for any young person other than a diehard enthusiast. Compared to our best efforts to reach those people and explain the opportunity, the flight shaming message will always be stronger until business aviation stands up and makes a serious noise about how it is leading, not denying, sustainability.
And then we must show people how diverse the opportunities in aviation are. Arnold, Bancroft, Rodríguez and Hill are all pursuing successful, fulfilling aviation careers abundant with future promise, yet none of them are pilots or engineers, and neither do they work in the cabin. In the conversations I’ve had while preparing this last EVA of 2022, the struggle to attract and recruit young people has been a recurrent theme. Perhaps tackling the popular falsehoods of business aviation sustainability and telling potential new talent what the industry really has to offer ought to be the most important aims for 2023?