LONDON – So here I am. Article number 500. In what has been a busy year and a half, I have produced 500 articles directly and over that number indirectly for Airways.

To celebrate this, I wanted to add a little bit more of my personal style and see where we are at and where we are going to be over the next 500 articles as I try, effortlessly, to hit 1,000.

I will discuss my current highlights writing for Airways and what I have learned about the industry through these highlights and experiences, such as the events I have attended, to the sheer volatility of the industry, the intensity of competition in the low-cost market, as well as what the future holds going into the next 12-18 months.

My Best Highlights…

The past year and five months at Airways have been some of the most incredible traveling experiences I have had.

As a young 19-year-old at the time, I had never expected to travel to unique destinations such as Doha and be on board a delivery flight.

This particular moment was when I got to cover the first Airbus A350-1000 delivery from Toulouse to Doha with Qatar Airways back in February 2018. It resulted in my first ever magazine cover, something that I never thought I would reach for a long while.

From awesome business class products to amazing city tours of Doha, exploring local culture and local foods, it has made me open myself up as more of a person, sharing my experiences a lot more.

For a young lad like me, I have never felt so lucky having such an experience like this. I have always said to employers or my lecturers that I will never have to take a gap year for traveling because this job makes it continuous all of the time. It’s awesome!

The next big thing was my first ever airshow. As someone who lived in the North of England, getting to the likes of Farnborough or any other international trade show without paying loads of money and traveling far was very inconvenient for my location.

Thanks to the amazing willpower and grace of Enrique, our Editor in Chief, he got me down there and myself, Roberto Leiro, Alvaro Sanchez and Enrique spent a couple of days doing what we absolutely loved. Covering aviation.

It was without a doubt the best week I have had in the industry, making new friends, seeing current friends and just being able to talk aviation all the time!

And all thanks to the connectivity of Farnborough, I achieved my first ever interview with the BBC, again something I would never have thought about doing having only been in the industry a couple of years.

I expected the aces of the industry that have been doing it for years to come on but it was an awesome adventure, to say the least!

And what has been a final and significant highlight for the year with Airways was down at my local airport of Manchester, where Ethiopian Airlines and Manchester Airport invited me to cover a “jolly” flight around the UK to test out the products on offer.

We got insider access around the aircraft, the product itself, the food, and the enthusiasm of the staff that take awesome pride in what they do.

I also got exclusive interviews with CEOs of the airline, commercial directors of the airports, all to form an overall view of what the Ethiopian product means for the Manchester area.

I have also, from the comfort of my own home, helped out some of the other writers on event coverage such as the Wideroe E190-E2 launch customer delivery with Roberto Leiro, the Singapore Boeing 787-10 delivery ceremony with Chris Sloan as well as the first TAP Airbus A330neo delivery ceremony with Daniel Sander.

Having this access as an aviation enthusiast, never mind a member of the press, was always something that intrigued me as I always wanted to know what was going behind the scenes.

I never consider myself as an analyst, because I am nowhere near that. I am lucky to be where I am and I will keep doing what I do all of the time, which is to report the news and try and determine what will happen next. I have gotten a few things wrong in the past, but thanks to my amazing mentors on this very publication, I am still able to finetune my writing where appropriate.

Aviation – The Volatile Element…

Something that I have had to get to grips with when writing about aviation is how volatile this industry is. Things are happening left, right, front, and center… and at first is very intimidating.

You have to be on the ball. You have to see what is happening and you have to prepare for what happens next.

The past 18 months have seen some of the most turbulent times for the aviation industry, particularly in Europe.

We have seen demises of many carriers such as Air Berlin, Monarch, Cobalt, the financial collapse of Alitalia, as well as many other smaller carriers that cannot compete in the current climate.

To put it bluntly, airlines in the industry are dropping like flies. And this is solely down to the emergence of low-cost carriers becoming even more present than they were around four to five years ago.

We have seen Ryanair expanding dramatically for Summer 2019 out of many different bases it has, trying to penetrate as much market share in each individual European destination across its network.

It has encouraged other carriers such as Lufthansa’s Eurowings, Norwegian, easyJet, and many others to start applying the same strategy. Rapid growth has put a lot of pressure on the legacy carriers to act and bring prices down as well as offer more frequencies elsewhere.

In the United States, we don’t see many carriers going under, but we have a lot of competition between the likes of Southwest, Frontier, and Spirit Airlines—all trying to adapt that affordability model to boost passenger numbers and revenue.

It hasn’t put as much pressure on the legacy carriers like American, United, and Delta as of yet, as its networks are so well spread out not just domestically, but globally, that it is yet to make a very significant difference.

But as a whole, volatility is the main keyword for aviation this year. And it will continue across the world, from the likes of BREXIT to President Trump’s Isolationist stance on carriers such as Air Italy and others. It makes everything so exciting, yet so terrifying to watch at the same time.

The Look to the Future

Now my work doesn’t just stop at 500. As I said earlier, I want to hit 1,000 and beyond.

We have plenty of news stories to cover over the next year or so, with the Paris Air Show 2019 approaching very rapidly, exploring the potential new NMA aircraft from Boeing being teased ever so subtly, to the flight testing of the Boeing 777X going into more of a freeflow.

I am very excited to see how this industry is going to evolve over another year, especially with the rapid growth it is being subjected to.

Especially with the likes of Deloitte that is stating 38,000 aircraft will be built over the next 20 years says that a lot of work can be done in aircraft development, order books and so much more.

I also have a meetup with fellow enthusiasts next year at Manchester, being organized by Airways where we get to meet our audiences and do nothing but talk aviation and plane spot all day!

And while I have been with previous media outlets, I could not have got to where I am without my fellow colleagues at Airways Magazine.

I would like to give thanks to the following senior members of the team:

Enrique Perrella – For taking me under your wing when I wanted to thrive. You threw me in the deep end and it was forever rewarding. You enabled me with my first ever magazine piece as well as my first delivery flight. You put so much trust in me in developing the brand and I cannot thank you enough for your confidence in me!

Roberto Leiro – For helping me progress my first cover into subsequent further covers for the mag. You have helped me develop my writing ability through the publishing of my Manchester, East Midlands, Brussels, and hopefully soon, Helsinki Airport as well as our joint magazine analysis on the Farnborough Air Show earlier this year.

Chris Sloan – For firing all of those press releases over and letting me help you with any coverage you needed writing. You have enabled me to explore so many different areas of the industry, like with Enrique, in order to better understand an industry that is so close to my heart.

Mariana Quintero – Your help in advertising the brand as well as my business cards has enabled me to present myself in such a way that I have not before. Your dedication to the brand is a testament to how Airways is presented today.

Benjamin Bearup – For providing a stable image on the Airways brand, especially if times were getting tough and the feedback wasn’t great. You have been able to boost not just my portfolio, but everyone else’s here on the AW team, and I am forever in your debt. Your social media skills are a godsend.

The Rest of The Writers – You guys are what make this website function on a daily basis. Without your research, your analysis, your approach to your writing, we would not be where we are today so I thank you for your coordination with me, especially if I got very stressful at times. Like with me, you guys want what is only best for the organization and I truly appreciate that! You guys are truly some of my best friends, and not just work colleagues!

And as a side note, I would like to thank the people that bullied me when I was younger for my bizarre fondness of this industry. You guys fueled me up with the drive that was needed to get me into the position I am in today.

While it may be the excruciatingly painful 20-hour days, your negativity has resulted in significant positivity for me and I will always be grateful for that. Your bullying was worth it.

To bring everything to a conclusion, I have no idea what I would do without this industry. It is my lifeblood and will continue to do so in every waking moment of my life. And as I always take with me, “To the skies we go, for everything is peace and bliss at 35,000 feet”…