Filter By:

2018 Day 2 Report

Thursday 19 April

Brexit challenges
The second day of the conference began at 9:00 with an informative and thought-provoking session on Brexit and its impact on the future of aviation. With the 2019 Brexit deadline looming, the topic is high on the agenda for ERA. The session, chaired by Graham Baguley, Operations Director, Titan Airways who also chairs ERA’s Industry Affairs Group, featured an expert panel consisting of Martin Isler, Executive Vice President Airline & Accountable Manager, Luxair Luxembourg Airlines; David Kendrick, Airline Licensing & Consumer Issues, UK Civil Aviation Authority; Thomas van der Wijngaart, Legal Director, Clyde & Co and Chris Tarry, Founder of specialist aviation consultancy CTAIRA.

David Kendrick of the UK CAA updated the audience on the progress regarding Brexit and explained that the work is moving ahead at a pace, with the UK Government and the CAA making sure that all stakeholders within the industry have the opportunity to share their views. He also noted that organisations such as ERA play a very important part in this.

On the subject of the current uncertainty regarding EASA, Martin Isler said the situation is requiring airlines to be very pragmatic and consider available alternatives when it comes to new business agreements. David Kendrick stated that the CAA wants the UK to remain within EASA but the organisation has contingency plans in place in case this doesn’t happen. 

The panel also discussed the EU261 passenger rights regulation and agreed that UK consumers are used to having these rights, although Thomas van der Wijngaart stated that there could be some divergence regarding to what those rights mean.

The panel didn’t see many opportunities for airlines in the Brexit scenario, although David Kendrick stated that London airports continue to provide huge opportunities to regional airlines.

Finally, the panellists agreed that while there is a lot of uncertainly currently, there may not actually be much change, particularly from the consumer perspective. “The industry is incredibly resilient, having to deal with many issues other industries don’t have to consider”, Thomas van der Wijngaart said. The panel’s collective wisdom certainly gave delegates a lot to think about as they met for their networking coffee break before the conference’s final session.

Aiming high
This year’s inspirational speaker, Diana Gomes Da Silva, also had a captive audience during the final session of the Regional Airline Conference. At 21, Diana became the youngest and first Portuguese female aerobatic pilot which was followed by a career as a commercial airline pilot flying all over the European skies. Diana was the youngest female Airbus instructor, the youngest female instructor of Airbus in the Middle East, the first aerobatic instructor in the UAE and manager of the biggest UPRT (Upset Prevention and Recovery Training) training programme in the world for Etihad Airway’s flight college. “I have always been a dreamer, determined and keen to learn and develop myself,” Diana says.  

Diana shared her experiences as a commercial airline pilot and guided the audience through a real emergency when she had a dual engine failure on an Airbus. “The noise and the vibration stay with you”, Gomes Da Silva said when she recounted the details of the terrifying situation to the audience, and stressed that outside-of-the-box thinking is extremely important in emergency situations. She also discussed different aspects of flight operations, from pilot training to operating crews in a multicultural environment and the associated challenges of this.

This final session was an inspiring end to a topical and informative programme at the event and delegates then enjoyed their final networking opportunity over a buffet lunch and caught up with their peers and the ERA team. This year’s conference was once again a real success, with several important sessions and a wealth of essential information and views shared at the event. 

Don’t forget to add ERA’s next event, the ERA General Assembly 2018, to your calendar. The event will be taking place this year in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 9–11 October at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).