Last week, our crewing department leaders, Cathy Tam and Paul Harvie, discussed the various opportunities that Six West is currently providing global aviation professionals on a contract basis, including the kind of individuals they are looking for, and how to register with the company.
Today, Matthew Gee, Chief Operating Officer and the team leader behind our Flight Operations Solutions department gives his own input and predictions on current events, including how FOS is managing the challenges that lie ahead. We also sat down with Aine Scully, our Director of Finance, to see what insights she’s able to provide and the methods that finance and HR are using to positively push ahead.
1) As COO with oversight and management of Six West’s FOS team, can you describe what the FOS team does?
Matt: FOS, or Flight Operations Solutions, provides flight solutions for our aircraft leasing, airline and aircraft operator clients. This may involve ferry flights, technical demonstration or observation flights, as well as bespoke operational support and logistics. We actually become the aircraft operator for the duration of the aircraft movement.
2) How is FOS positively contributing to the industry in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Matt: In some ways, it is business as usual for us, whilst on the other hand, we have had to adapt to an ever-changing regulatory environment. Country restrictions, which can change from one day to the next, are the norm during this period.
3) How is Six West fulfilling its obligations to its clients during this time?
Matt: We are working closely with our clients, advising them of any restrictions in place and consulting on the best way forward with safety remaining a top priority. Our close relationship with our clients, combined with our emphasis on safety and our ability to stay on top of all the latest regulatory changes have contributed to Six West keeping its promises to its clients, within the limitations of today’s environment. Interestingly enough, since February, we’ve managed 44,687 nautical miles in our flight movements!
4) As an industry veteran, you’ve witnessed how extreme circumstances can lead to big changes in aviation. What impact/s do you predict this pandemic will have on the industry?
Matt: I think the current COVID-19 pandemic is worse than many previous events combined. In other events, the industry adapted and recovered relatively quickly, however, this is different as almost every sector of the industry is affected. We have seen every airline ground the vast majority of their fleets with airports losing vast amounts of revenue etc.
However, I stand by the belief that this industry is resilient and will recover from this. That recovery will include, unfortunately, some airline casualties, but events such as this also bring new opportunities for others. I envision that airlines will scale back on route frequencies and also retire older fleets.
1) How is Six West internally dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and has it presented any challenges?
Aine: Six West has been very fortunate. We performed a company-wide, two-day stress test before the limitations came into place, giving us an excellent opportunity to see if any issues would arise from working remotely.
Thankfully, the nature of our business lends itself to remote working and I am happy to say that it’s business as usual for the finance team and the wider Six West team.
Like every other company in the world today, the crisis will present various challenges and we rely on staff as well as clients to work together to push through this time. Keeping a very close eye on all activity is essential during these times.
2) Do you think these temporary measures will result in long-term policy change?
Aine: I am sure things will go back to normal quite quickly once the current outbreak dies down and I believe that as a company, we are learning a great deal about our employees during this time. Trust and reliability whilst working remotely are essential and the outbreak has confirmed that remote working is a solid, alternative work arrangement. This may influence the possibility of formulating a work from home policy for the team.
3) Are you able to shed light on a few of the investments that Six West is making for business development purposes?
Aine: Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Six West continues to invest in business development and marketing. These are ongoing costs and it’s imperative that investment continues, even during this difficult time. We have no plans of stopping and this pandemic is the topic that’s dominating all the media right now, so I feel that it is refreshing when organisations share company information that is unrelated to the virus.
4) How is Six West providing personal support to its team members during this time?
Aine: The health and well being of all Six West employees is absolutely critical. Everyone’s personal circumstances are unique and we are happy to support all our employees as they find their own equilibrium in this new reality. Additionally, the Six West management team is being as transparent as possible in an effort to ease any worries staff may have during this period. We’re here for you!