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Day 2 report

Members reconvened on Thursday 14 March for day 2 of the conference. Our final panel session focused on resource scarcity and whether regional aviation is the weakest link in the aviation food chain.

Panellist Daniele Cereghetti, CEO of Zimex Aviation stated that a lack of human resources is his airline’s number 1 issue, closely followed by supply chain problems. The pandemic has had a major impact on the way people work and what they value.

Alexis Vidal, ATR highlighted that there are different challenges for manufacturers. Some supply issues are related to a shortage of raw materials, causing difficulties getting back on track and rebuilding aircraft production volumes. The manufacturer is focusing on better visibility of production, although Vidal stressed issues will not be solved in a day.

Maren Wolters, Managing Director of ACMI provider German Airways commented that “the big birds get the big attention!” but regional airlines are needed to connect people and support the network – regional airlines feed these “big birds” and if they didn’t have anything to eat, where would they be?

Responding to a question from the audience about how ERA’s airlines differentiate themselves from the larger airlines to attract staff, Pierre Muracciole, CEO of Air Corsica said that one major attraction of regional airlines is a good work-life balance.

The panellists then discussed various options for addressing the pilot shortage, including raising the pilot retirement age, halving the number of pilots in the cockpit as well as a future option of unmanned operations.

As the panel finally reflected on whether regional airlines really are at the bottom of aviation food supply chain, the consensus was that we do face challenges, but we have strengths as regional operators that we should promote, and we can showcase ourselves in particular as forerunners of the green transition.

After a final coffee break, delegates were treated to an inspiring session with world record-holding rower and eco-adventurer, Roz Savage. In her 30s she decided to leave a comfortable life as a management consultant to embrace opportunity. In the face of criticism she started her rowing adventure, becoming the first and only woman to row solo across the world's ‘Big Three’ oceans.

She told delegates about the incredible challenges she faced, but says she has no regrets. Vision Into Action (VIA) is her mantra, with the emphasis on action rather than words. When faced with adversity or a daunting task she has learned to break everything down into manageable chunks and realise that we are all part of a bigger picture.

Being at the mercy of mother nature on the ocean has made her realise that the world is actually quite small and we are part of nature. She shared her belief that we are all stewards of this world, and by everyone taking small actions we can, collectively, make substantial gains.

As the event drew to a close, over a final networking lunch delegates reflected on what was a successful and positive event. We are so proud of our members and all they do to keep Europe connected and it gives us great pleasure to bring the whole industry together at our events.