Regional Connectivity, Brexit and Pilot Shortage on the Agenda
The 2018 edition of the BOV Aviation Outlook, the seventh edition of this event featured the participation of ATR, the largest regional aircraft manufacturer in the world. It tackled the implications of BREXIT as well as the possibility of a looming pilot shortage.
The fully packed conference featured delegates from over 40 companies and entities involved in the local aviation sector.
Addressing the conference, Kenneth Farrugia, Chief Business Development Officer at Bank of Valletta said ‘As a systemically important Bank within the Maltese Community, the Bank enjoys very fruitful relationships with members of the aviation industry. Our people have gained expertise in the field through many years of experience in the banking business as well as in the aviation industry, so no matter the stage of operations, we can move hand in hand for a smooth take-off and landing.’
ATR Vice President Raffaele Fiorentini delivered an engaging presentation explaining how ATR’s latest model, the ATR 600 is proving to be a true profit maker on thin regional routes making small airports fully accessible with an aircraft that boasts the latest innovations in the cockpit, in customer comfort as well as the current lowest seat per mile cost.
Air Malta’s First Officer Kristian Farrugia discussed the implications of BREXIT on the industry. ‘There is a flurry of interest from UK registered airlines to get a European AOC as they want to ensure their operations are not thwarted in any way after the UK leaves the European bloc in March 2019,’ said F/O Farrugia. ‘The local register could continue to grow exponentially by attracting UK based AOC holders to the island’.
Maltese aviation pioneer Captain Norman D’Amato tackled the looming pilot shortage. ‘There are various avenues available to those who aspire to become commercial pilots,’ said the Ryanair’s Base Captain on the island. ‘With the number of passengers expecting to double by 2036, the recruitment drive all over the globe has reached unprecedented levels. There are a multitude of options available to aspiring candidates as airlines try to cope with the ever-harsher battle for top talent to fill in their flight decks.’
The event moved to the presentation of the BOV Aviation Awards, presented to individuals or organisations who have made an impact on the local aviation industry.
The much-coveted lifetime achievement award was scooped by aviation insurance expert Martin Azzopardi. He was Air Malta’s Insurance Buyer and Risk Manager for over 30 years. He also represented the Maltese government at EU level after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The Aviator of the Year Award went to Flight Examiner Trevor Darmanin. Over the past nine years Trevor has distinguished himself as a highly talented flight instructor. He can best be described as an unflustered, determined and resilient aviator who at the tender age of 25 qualified as a Flight Examiner, making him one of the youngest ever on the island.
Aerospace giant ATR was crowned Leader of the Year. Jean Charles Burguiere and Raffaele Fiorentini collected the award. ATR is today the largest regional aircraft manufacturer in the world and, under the helm of Christian Scherer, it is actively pursuing new avenues including a possible 90-seat turboprop. Airlines have been pressing ATR for a larger version of the ATR-72 or a possible completely new design. There is little doubt that in today’s world ATR is the undisputable leader in the regional world.