Aviation, Brexit and COVID19 (ABC) 3

IMG_1651For the most obvious reasons, Coronavirus has pushed EU-UK Brexit negotiations down the political agenda.   Ironically, there’s the thought that Brexit No-Deal preparations, including stockpiling may have helped businesses prepare for the COVID19 lock-down.  Thus, predicting the future is fraught with a million and one pitfalls but never has it been more important to plan.

Aviation is largely shutdown.  Cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and office staff are concerned.  Pilots have cut a deal with their employers.  Aircraft are parked.  Airports are closing runways.  A stasis exists.  When this crisis has passed, aviation will be key to the recovery of the European economy and in reuniting Europe’s people after painful isolation. Aviation has a vital role to play.

Meanwhile, the UK has obtained EU support to help cover the costs of repatriation flights during the crisis, taking advantage of a programme that subsidises efforts to bring back stranded nationals.

Unfortunately, decisions made in the first quarter of 2020 have proven to be highly questionable.  In aviation there’s the subject of Human Factors.  Much written about, and points of view argued over as these factors can be the root of catastrophises in aviation.  There are what is described as the hazardous attitudes of pilots, controllers and engineers that can produce terrible outcomes.  A couple of them have been evident in national politicians.  They are invulnerability and the macho mindset.   It’s sad to say that these attitudes: “Only I can do it – others can’t” and “It can’t happen to me” have resulted in lots of fatalities over the years.  When flying, it’s always worth remembering that: If you are not aware of your limits, your first mistake is likely to be your last.

There’s a difference between skill and judgement.  Scientists and technicians have the skill to advise and interpret information but it’s leaders who must exercise judgement.  This unprecedented global virus challenge has resulted in some poor judgements.

Sound judgments included those to reschedule major international events like the Farnborough Air Show[1] and the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26[2].  How strange it is not to extend the EU-UK Brexit transition period.  The UK’s chief negotiator says that more talks will take place with the EU in April and May.  It would be better if all Goverement efforts were focused on defeating this virus threat.  Now, the Brexit agenda looks parochial and self-indulgent.

Slowly but surely this message is getting across.  One reason is that the forecasts for the post-Coronavirus situation in the UK shows a weak ecomomy.  Adding pain to pain in January 2021 would not only be foolish but it would be a political nail in the coffin for the Goverening Party.

Viruses can’t cooperate.  Humans can cooperate.  A European coordinated effort is of paramount importance.  People have the upper hand if only they can get over what’s holding them back.  Blame is a dead end.

[1] https://www.farnborough.com/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/cop26

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