The Observer - Michael Segalov

The travel industry was hit hard by Covid and Brexit and there were long delays this summer. 

Nic Gibson, 28, senior first officer

It’s been a tough few years to be working in the aviation industry. When Brexit first came to fruition, we had mutual agreements between the UK and European authorities. We were unsure what to expect, but actually it didn’t prove much of an issue. Our pilot licences were accepted the same; there’s no need for visas to travel. Covid, however, was a slightly bigger problem. We were the first industry to take the hit, and the last one to recover. It’s been a challenging two and a half years. At first, things just slowed down. Then for a summer and a half I was furloughed and stopped flying completely. Legally, you have to do three takeoffs and landings every 90 days to keep your licence valid. I did these on a simulator through that time, with all our planes grounded.

Now there’s a whole new challenge, I see it all over Europe. There’s been a change in passenger mindset now things are opening up. People who’ve been locked up for years are desperate to get away, putting pressure on infrastructure and – whether inside airports or with airlines – staffing levels. The skies, meanwhile, are clogged up with traffic; I’ve never seen it so busy. Air traffic control slots are tight in many places, radio frequencies are heaving.

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