I would like to open my blog with a tribute to Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III and his crew that landed flight 1549 of US Airways into the Hudson River after hitting flock of birds minutes after takeoff. The amazing result was that this crew has saved the life of 150 passengers onboard.
We did not expect that. We expected something in line of the sea crush of the Hijacked Ethiopian Aircraft back in 1996. This was a remarkable landing that was a direct result of high professionalism and a little luck. The air traffic controller who was talking to the pilot, testified later on that when he heard of the captain’s decision to land on the Hudson, he was convinced he is the last person to talk to this flight.
When you saw the passengers standing on the aircraft wings waiting for rescue, you must have noticed few of them with their laptops on. There must be more than just one rule against that, but you need to be a corporate manager or a techi to understand that these guys will never leave without their laptops, crush landing in river, or not.
The Airline industry being a sub category of the travel industry is unique by itself; although very popular among most of us, the industry is characterized by being extremely dynamic, accurate in nature and catastrophic when things go wrong.
In terms of management, this industry revolves around precision of minutes mostly when dealing with landing and take offs while in contradiction to long range planning of months when it comes to purchase fuel or years when ordering new aircraft.
The successful landing of flight 1549 on the Hudson River is only the tip of the iceberg visible to us, but definitely a result of procedures and regulations traced back to operations manuals, productions and mainly: hard training.
The airline industry has more than one face. It has the common pleasant one that handles customers and smiles at you when boarding an aircraft or checking in, but can change in an instants if needed into efficient, military-like operation when things go wrong.
So, next time you are flying, don’t forget to be nice to the stewardess as she is the one to save you if anything does go wrong 🙂