The seatbelt signs have been on for a while, the pilot reports are coming in thick and fast, this industry is hitting the rocky road and there is much worse to come. But we are flying, not only that, we are all changing because to stay the same means oblivion.
That last section of the message is being pushed particularly hard by the management of airlines across the world isn’t it. It is here…
To me we seem to entering the the last phase in the reshaping of legacy carriers from the leviathans they once were into the streamlined modern companies they need to be. 9/11 should have been the watershed for massive changes in the industry but Chapter 11 and government subsidy in the US allowed many US carriers to hold off substantial restructuring. Protectionism during the recession that we find washing around our knees may well do something similar. But true 21st Century business structures can’t be far away now.
Labour has its own concerns of course. Will increasingly aggressive executives see this as a major opportunity to reshape salary scales and remove benefits? The signs are certainly there that they may, the savings potential by doing this have been eyed for years. We are fully aware that plans have been laid for the restructuring for several major departments in the company that I work for. I guess timing is everything and as the climate turns increasingly bitter in the financial world, the bell seems set to toll.
Conversations in crew rooms around the route network with our own and other carrier’s crews follow this pattern almost ad-nausium. Sorry if this is a theme I keep returning to but it permeates our existence at the moment and it is difficult to put it down. I count myself very fortunate though, every week it seems that my friends who paramotor have another of their number who has either lost his job or his company. This IS a bitter wind.