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Alerion Aviation
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Tucker and Higgins join Alerion team
Former USAF pilot, American Airlines and Boeing leader Gene Tucker brings 32 years' experience to his role as director of ops while Debra Higgins' diverse background will drive growth in charter sales and management.
Debra Higgins.

Alerion Aviation has appointed Gene Tucker as director of operations and Debra Higgins as director of business development.

Tucker brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the company and will manage the day-to-day flight operations with overall responsibility for the safe and legal performance of flight and ground operations. Working collaboratively across all Alerion's departments, he is charged with enhancing all processes and systems to ensure optimal customer service while balancing business needs and operational requirements.

In his previous role at Boeing, Tucker was part of the newly created global flight training standardisation team within the test and evaluation division to develop and roll out a global strategy for all of Boeing flight and training operations around the world. He had a more than 32 year career at American Airlines serving as a captain, check airman, FAA designee and was the lead training programme developer for the B-787 transition, initial, recurrent and international qualifications curricula. He holds an ATP with over 21,500 hours of single and multi-engine turbojet flight time with worldwide operational experience. He is type rated on the B787, B777, B767, B757, B-737, B727, B720 and B707 aircraft.

Tucker is a retired US Air Force pilot, with 23 years of service flying training to front line mission aircraft, including being a member of the USAF replacement trainer acquisition programme. He was a research pilot with NASA's human-in-the-loop, next-gen cockpit, ATC modernisation and enhanced and synthetic vision and advanced cockpit research at Lockheed's Martin Space Operations, Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Higgins's journey in aviation began in 1988 as a flight attendant, quickly rising to chief flight attendant, at Renown Aviation. Her role encompassed training and managing the company's flight attendant team. She moved into sales roles in the northeast and south Florida, where she was promoted to VP of charter sales at Key Air, Private Jet Charters and Speedbird.

In addition to her professional achievements, Higgins is deeply committed to mentoring the next generation of aviation professionals. She established the Aero Education Academy where she has developed a comprehensive training curriculum in charter sales and trip support, sharing her extensive experience and knowledge with young individuals aspiring to careers in private aviation.

She is a member of the Central Florida Business Aviation Association and serves as a board member of the Space Coast Women in Aviation Alliance, an organisation dedicated to promoting aviation education. Furthermore, her compassion extends to animal welfare, as evidenced by her membership in Pilots for Paws, an organisation that transports animals to new homes.

Before embarking on her aviation career, Higgins attended the Center for the Media Arts in New York where she earned a degree in photography. This diverse background adds to her multifaceted perspective in business development.

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