IATA estimates that the coronavirus pandemic has put at least 25 million aviation-related jobs at risk. With pop-up quarantines, lightening lockdowns, and continuing uncertainty that number will only increase. People in aviation are losing jobs and many are suffering from mental health issues.
Aviation Action—launched by Chris Wild, Head of Airfield Operations at the UK’s Manchester Airport, together with industry colleagues—aims to help those in need worldwide. The charity consists of a trustee board and two regional advisory boards, all containing a diverse range of individuals, including recruiters, airport personnel, ex-military staff, and early career ambassadors.
Aviation Action is already directly helping over 500 people and is growing rapidly. “Our aim is to grow through a number of initiatives with industry partners, including airlines, airport operators, and other key organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration, Civil Aviation Authorities and membership bodies such as Airports Council International, IATA and ICAO,” says Luke Martin, Chair of one of the regional advisory boards.
Discussions have already led to support from many aviation companies. “We are incredibly encouraged by the pace at which the charity is growing,” he continues. “To further increase momentum and help those in need we would like to encourage airlines and airport operators to get in touch with us.”
Aviation Action supports the full aviation spectrum from engineering and cabin crew to baggage-loaders, planners and caterers, cargo-specialists, pilots, marshals and more. The primary focus of the charity is to provide peer to peer support as shared experience often makes people feel safer. But professional help is also available.
“Individuals are reaching out to us, based on word of mouth or social media awareness and events, but we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Martin notes.
The charity focuses on early prevention and awareness of mental health but also offers advice on resumés, finance, and interview technique among much else. It has launched an early career mentor scheme for school, college, and university leavers, for example, to help them with their transition into a working career in aviation. A series of webinars offer advice for those entering the industry. Furthering women in aviation and the growing number of diversity groups is also a key strategy.
Support is always structured to an individual’s needs and all services are free with donations contributing to securing the services an individual may require.
Aviation Action’s five key areas.
The Charity is also running an industry-wide research survey, State of the Industry – 2020 and Beyond, to enable the charity to focus its support to where it is needed most.
“It is clear that there is a significant underlying mental health crisis within the industry, which we have seen evidenced through the early results of our research survey, with 47% of those that have responded stating they feel they have experienced some form of mental health issues as a result of recent events,” concludes Martin. “Furthermore 34% of respondents have stated that they have been placed under significant financial hardship.”
For more information or to make a donation: www.aviationaction.org
The survey can be completed here.