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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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PERSPECTIVES – Business aviation through the eyes of the operations manager: So, what did we find out in our straw poll of EBAN readers?
For many respondents there was a great deal of talk about teamwork. Claude Neumeyer reports that Nomad Aviation AG has, in effect, not just one ops manager, but three.

For many respondents there was a great deal of talk about teamwork. Claude Neumeyer reports that Nomad Aviation AG has, in effect, not just one ops manager, but three. The company operations manual defines the roles of managers for flight operations, ground operations and customer care/sales, each one responsible for his specific parts but needing to work in close cooperation with each other for most tasks.

For example, trip planning is the responsibility of both customer care/sales and ground operations. Crewing is part of the responsibility of flight operations, while maintenance scheduling is initiated from the continuous maintenance manager but thereafter fine-tuned with customer care/sales and ground operations.

Delegation is essential in large operations, such as that of ExecuJet. Says Andreas Pfisterer, European aircraft operations director: "In Europe I am responsible for two different roles. Firstly, I am in charge of looking after our European AOCs which are in Switzerland, UK and Denmark. I coordinate between the different AOCs to ensure that they are all working together on unified guidelines, which are also in compliance with our world- wide standards.

"Secondly, I am responsible for the Swiss AOC specifically, I therefore oversee flight ops, training, ground ops/dispatch, maintenance management, quality and safety. It is my job to ensure that all these departments are running smoothly and that we are complying with all legal requirements."

Pfisterer also keeps a keen eye on crewing and maintenance scheduling. "All final responsibility lies with me as I oversee all these departments, however we have line managers that will oversee a specific department. I am generally the main point of contact for our customers so I therefore have regular meetings with all the departments to ensure that I have up-to-date knowledge of all the aircraft that we manage."

NetJets Europe's chief pilot and director of flight operations Pascal Lhoest sums up his objectives briefly as "ensuring crew members perform with the highest levels of safety, the aircraft are efficiently operated and all NetJets flight operations are conducted in compliance with all relevant regulations and NetJets policies and procedures."

Meanwhile other individuals have the all-encompassing remit all to themselves. "I am responsible for everything to do with the aircraft including, but not limited to, crewing, catering, landing and overflight permits, flight plans, passenger transport, hotels, cars, aircraft serviceability and cleaning, liaising direct with passengers and/or their assistants, airline tickets," says Jacky Taylor of Ambrion at Luton airport. "Everything to do with getting an aircraft to and from a destination and all bits in the middle."

Captain Philip Amadeus of Rotormotion agrees. His role is ultimately "the day-to-day running of the company in the absence of the MD. Calculating quotes, putting together the trips once clients have booked, ensuring all flights comply with the CAA requirements, booking crew for the flights and being sure their crew duty is not exceeded. In addition anything from assisting in the hangar to dealing with accounts."

Looking after staff issues is often a significant part of the operations manager's job. Raul Gomez, Atlas Jets, is fully involved in decisions about the appointment of staff within his area of the business, as well as deciding when the company needs to recruit flight crew members, determining the criteria for selection, training and coaching. With suitable crew in place he then devises and monitors monthly schedules ensuring the crews' weekly, monthly and annual rest.

But his is a management role too, being involved in deciding the strategies and objectives of the company, and representing Atlas Jets at national and international agencies in all matters relating to its operations.

Even if crew scheduling is not in the job description, it is still important to be involved, says Guillaume of Oyonnair, "to make sure the sales team won't sell the aircraft on those days."

But most report that aircraft maintenance scheduling and organisation is outside the operations manager's sphere. A rule proved by the very few exceptions, such as Agrarflug Helilift, where flight operations manager and head of training Robert Rücker is responsible for CAMO, in addition to the usual roster of crew planning, training, licences, coordination of flights and contracts, maps and all other flight requirements.

Louise Southern, remote sensing operations manager for APEM Ltd, does oversee aircraft maintenance, along with aircraft planning, staff (pilots and camera crew), general base operations, flight scheduling, crew accommodation, transport, expenses, AOC paperwork, CAA liaison, ATC liaison and flight safety, all as part of her accountable manager position.

And when there are problems, you can be sure the buck stops with the ops manager. Daniel Naslonski of FDS OPS is not alone in reporting that answering customer complaints falls to him.

Dmitry Sorokin, chief operations officer of Petroff Air, lists ops trouble shooting as a key activity, as well as the increasingly vital "ops cost reduction."

This is also on the mind of Liz Tsoukatou, ops coordinator at Athens Executive Aviation, who monitors the punctuality performance of staff and suppliers and controls operations costs.

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