Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Female aviation bosses address Covid challenges at the WTM BIG airline session

The Chief Operating Officer of TUI Airline has described summer 2022 as the most difficult since starting to work in the industry more than three decades ago. Dawn Wilson recalled: “In my 34 years and 20 managing operations it was the most difficult summer ever.  

“For our people in aviation industry they didn’t set out to fail. I saw a huge amount of resilience trying to keep everything going.  

“The last thing we wanted to do was to delay the start or finish of someone’s holiday – they have saved up a lot for that.”

She said, “things are definitely improving”, but added: “I think that we have some homework to do over the winter.  

“We and our service partners need to make sure that we have the resources. This summer has been an incredibly eye-opening experience.”

Wilson was speaking during The BIG Airline Session, hosted by WTM’s aviation expert John Strickland, Director of JLS Consulting.  Also on the panel was Lynne Embleton, CEO of Aer Lingus, who said: “Covid showed us just how important aviation is,” giving the example of the need for PPE and vaccines to be distributed around the world.  

But she said: “We planned for a big summer – within a week it became apparent how struggling the system was.  

“A lot of people have left the industry because they couldn’t afford to stay. We need to get our mojo back in the industry and get people wanting to come in.”

The third panelist, Wizz Air UK Managing Director Marion Geoffroy, told John Strickland she always wanted to get into aviation and, after graduating as an airline lawyer started working with Air France, before moving into operations.  

“It’s fascinating,” she said.

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