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I asked [Steve Moyer] how everyone from Skyway was doing after the layoff. Most of the 25 Skyway mechanics have positions that are as good, if not in some ways better than, their old positions. [Steve Llewellyn] relocated to Minneapolis and is now the technical operations trainer with Compass Airlines. Moyer is still in Milwaukee and is the director of maintenance for Air Cargo Carriers. His new office is two hangars down the ramp from his old Skyway address.
Lessons Learned Economic Challenges: Coping with aviation industry cycles U nless you have been hiding under that the forecasts range from significant rev- a rock, it is obvious that the avia- enue loss to contraction and restructuring. tion industry, like so many others, is experiencing a “perfect storm” brought Lions, tigers, and bears on by the combination of rollercoaster fuel It is safe to note that “change and churn” prices, the sub-prime market meltdown, is the nature of our industry. This is not to and subsequent credit crunch. It appears make light of the current economic situation, By Charles Chandler that the weather is always threatening to be as these times are scary and challenging for stormy for the aviation industry. both the new hire and the ready-to-retire The dramatic economic meltdown in grey beards. However, these types of indus- the financial and housing markets in the try cycles always bring many opportunities United States and other global economies as well as challenges. has made a major impact in the market for In the August 2008 edition of AMT, Bill aerospace products and services, affecting O’Brien wrote a poignant letter to high all segments of our industry. It appears that school seniors about choosing a career in throughout 2009, and possibly beyond, the aviation maintenance. In that article Bill major airlines and the associated regional stated that one thing that he had learned airlines will continue reducing capacity due in his 45-year career was that “for better or to the global economic recession and the worse aviation is joined at the hip to the continued weakening demand for air travel. world’s economies” and that we need to As a result, the airlines are closely inspect- prepare for and weather these cycles, which ing all the links in their value chains for is part of being a contributing member of ways to reduce cost of operations. As tends the free market economy. to happen, these cost-cutting measures will start to travel upstream to large and small The Skyway Airlines story service providers. Skyway Airlines provides an example Across almost every segment, there is of how the industry can prevail in the face agreement that it appears the shakeout in of adversity. Skyway began flight opera- the aviation industry is accelerating and tions in the spring of 1989 as a division of 56 March 2009 Aircraft Maintenance Technology • www.AMTonline.com • www.AMTSociety.org Lessons Learned Phoenix, AZ-based Mesa Air Group. Mesa’s Skyway Both Steve Moyer (director of maintenance opera- Airlines division operated Beechcraft 1900 Cs and tions) and Steve Llewellyn (maintenance training provided service to customers at Midwest Express manager) felt all the pieces were now in place for sta- Airlines in Milwaukee as well as in Rockford, IL. bility and then growth when the economy improved. In 1994 Midwest Express purchased the Skyway TPG Capital and Northwest Airlines were seen as division from Mesa. It reincorporated the airline the White Knights that had ridden in to save the day. as Astral Aviation Inc., doing business as Skyway TPG Capital had the reputation of buying companies, Airlines. (Astral) Skyway was a wholly owned sub- making changes, and then returning them
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