Summer 2020

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Summer 2020

I’ve been writing about aviation since 1996. I was working in West London on 11 September 2001 and vividly remember the big jets, turned back from the US, holding for landing slots at Heathrow. I’m certain we were still writing about the repercussions of 9/11 when the 2007/08 global financial crisis presented new challenges that beleaguered the industry, cost jobs and changed lives.

Now the world is beginning to see a way forwards from the coronavirus pandemic, a new crisis that has and will continue to beleaguer the aviation industry, cost jobs and, tragically, take lives. It has affected everything. This edition of EVA, for example, so carefully crafted for May’s cancelled EBACE show, has been rethought and reworked as almost every article fell by the wayside or became irrelevant.

And yet, after proofing the final version, I was left with a sense of hope. It’s true that job losses have already been announced and companies are struggling to survive in every one of our industry’s niches, but the stories of adaptability, resilience and renewal collected in this summer edition neatly summarise the industry’s response to this latest global crisis.

One industry veteran noted in a recent Zoom call: “It’s OK to be in business aviation now. We don’t have to make excuses anymore, because now people can see what we do.” It’s true. Out of this awful crisis, business aviation has the opportunity to show the world exactly that which it does so well – move people efficiently and quickly, at range, safely and discretely, whenever and wherever they need to go.

I could compose more editorial fluff in hopes of spreading my own take on an already well-understood message but, instead, I’ll use the words of another industry stalwart, Dori Henderson, Vice President Business Aviation & Digital Solutions at Collins Aerospace, quoted in this edition: “…this is an exceptional industry and having seen how my team is reacting to the crisis and how they work with customers, I think what we’ve done is no more than our customers would expect. It’s exactly right they should expect this of us, but it’s an approach and relationship I’ve never seen in any other industry.

“Business aviation is a smaller, more agile industry than commercial aviation, able to make decisions far more rapidly. So, it really is uniquely positioned to drive and lead change, post-crisis. It’s an opportunity for business aviation to make a change for the whole world.”

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