LONDON – Today I have achieved a milestone in my writing career. 1,000 online articles here at Airways. In normal circumstances, I would have taken the opportunity, and highlight the last few years of the aviation industry, and pick some of its best moments.
But instead, given the current situation we all live in, I believe my 1,000th article should be something different. I have decided to write an open letter to the industry I have loved and followed since I was 10 years old. Because at this point, I feel there is a lot that I need to get off my chest, which follows the same sentiments as those currently struggling.
To the Industry…
117 years ago, through the incredible intellect of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight occurred for the first time.
This first flight was at the time ground-breaking and even to this day, accounts for a lot of what the entire industry has become since.
And in these 117 years, the aviation industry has been subjected to unfathomable world events. Whether wars, financial crises, or terrorist attacks, the industry has appeared to trundle on into significant areas of positivity.
This period has also seen those in the industry create some of the most iconic jets we have seen in generations. Concorde, the Boeing 747, the Airbus A380, the Antonov AN-225, and more have been a cumulation of love, knowledge, commitment, and skill within this beloved industry.
The last ten years itself have been primarily positive, from beneficial sales campaigns from the likes of Airbus and Boeing at Farnborough and Paris to next-generation aircraft emerging such as the Airbus A350, Boeing 787, 737 MAX, Sukhoi SuperJet, and the Embraer E190E2. Not to mention the developments in China and Russia with the COMAC C919 and the Irkut MC-21 too.
However, going to the main thrust of this letter, the industry of course is at its most volatile position at this moment in time. And that is because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Most people who look at journalists believe that they have no sympathy for what is currently going on. And depending on the field of journalism, that can be perceived as true.
But having produced a lot of articles in the last few months during this pandemic, the utter negativity that has been subjected to the industry, as a result, has placed me at breaking point and resulted in this letter being produced.
As enthusiasts and workers, aviation has and always will continue to be a tight-knit community. Even if you don’t know the person exactly, there is a level of bond, mutual respect, and love for what we love and follow every day.
I don’t consider this a writing job. I consider this as someone who is covering the very thing that has kept him sane through high school, college, and university. And to see this industry crumbling at the moment makes me very sad, especially with the long ways the industry has come over the last 20 years.
When I see friends, people on social media, and others being laid off from their place of worship and work, it makes covering the stories a hell of a lot more difficult.
That is the thing with COVID-19, it does not consider the emotive or the destructive side. And I think that is what has got to be the most. Just the destruction of it all.
With that said, however, I believe in this industry; it will overcome just the same way it managed to curtail 9/11, the 2008 Financial Crash, two World Wars, and more epidemics globally.
Whilst times may be tough, myself and the team at Airways would like to extend an arm to you all. As I have mentioned, we do not consider ourselves journalists, but passionate followers of an industry we love truly.
Of course, there is skepticism when talking to journalists, especially with the “on the record” and the “off the record perspective”. If you are someone struggling due to the pandemic, please reach out to us. We have a family ethos in this long-standing magazine where we want to help where we can.
The community spirit which is embedded in this industry will help everyone get back up after falling over the curb. Even if there isn’t an endpoint in sight just yet, it will appear in time and once it does, we will continue on the path that this industry has been on since 1903—and that is up.
A Much-Needed Government Push
This pandemic, especially with the aviation industry as context, there has been considerable focus on how governments and states around the world deal with this. Our industry contributesUS $3.5tn of economic worth to global economies every year, which is 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product.
The pressure needs to continue from those in the industry to get the government to give as much support as possible, from the CARES Act in the United States to the Job Retention Scheme in the United Kingdom.
If we let thousands of jobs go down the gutter when they could have been saved, then this is going to hinder the industry and push it back by more years than it needs to.
The next four years are very important, especially as we aim for a 2024 recovery target, as governments should be coordinating with the industry to see what more we can do to get more people in the air and also to restore consumer confidence as soon as possible.
It remains clear that whether an airline or airport has safety measures in place, it isn’t enough, so more action is required immediately.
From quicker testing to making it more accessible, passengers of all incomes should be given the right to see families, explore places around the world and do more things freely even when this virus is still around. And this, therefore, requires government intervention.
Giving Thanks in Terrible Times
Like with all print media across the world, it is certainly a volatile time with COVID, especially when it comes to distribution and delivery of news. But I would like to express thanks to a lot of people, who even through times such as COVID, have remained committed to the brand, no matter what.
I would first of all like to thank my boss, our Editor-in-Chief and CEO Enrique Perrella, who placed me in charge, alongside Helwing Villamizar to edit, publish and set our agenda for the online side of things. Helwing has done a sterling job as the Chief Online Editor and making sure our articles are the best they can be.
I would also like to thank Roberto Leiro for producing and setting the agenda for some one-of-a-kind issues that we have witnessed over this year. Thank you also for helping me, even when times got tough.
Thirdly, I want to thank our amazing team of writers, photographers, and social media teams who have worked effortlessly to provide on-coverage news to the best of their ability. I may have been a pain over the last few months but they have performed very well and I am so proud of their work.
Becoming Editor-At-Large back in May meant trying to turn the tide against this pandemic, and I certainly remain confident we can do this. I have expanded our team of writers, photographers, and social media gurus to bring you a 24-hour news cycle, which has been very successful, too.
Finally, I would like to thank YOU. Our audience, our readers, and our subscribers for sticking with us during the changes made over the last six months. As we come towards the end of a bad year, we are hopeful that 2021 will turn away from the nasty horror show that this pandemic has become.
So I end this open letter offering hope, support, kindness, respect, and love to those in the industry, furloughed, laid off, or still in positions. The Airways Team always has you in our thoughts.
Featured Image: An aircraft flying over the head. Photo Credit: Self.com