Safety in the Sky Leads to Success after Tragedy; Business PROFILE While Most Aviation Businesses Continue to Feel the Post 9/11pinch, One Security Training Firm Is Expanding Its Arena of Operations. David Jones Talks to Company Founder Dianne Worby
Byline: David Jones
CAN any positives possibly be drawn from the loss of 2,000 innocent lives?
The horrifying events of September 11, 2001, etched indelibly on the minds of millions,caused carnage on a terrible scale. They also did untold damage to a number of industries,particularly air travel and tourism.
But the subsequent tightening of aviation security and safety measures is good news for one North Wales-based company.
Aircraft and passenger safety concerns can involve,among other things, ensuring pilots and cabin crew know how to deal with problems ranging from the disruptive holiday maker who has had one drink too many to a determined attempt to hijack a jet.
Cue Global Air Training, a specialist air crew counter terrorism and other training provider, based in a quiet corner of North Wales but with a growing international reach.
The company provides air crew training tailored to the specific needs of airlines and regulatory bodies worldwide -customers who have beaten the proverbial path to its door.
Founding director Dianne Worby had the idea for the venture after working in commercial aviation.
Worby said: ``I was a safety training manager for a large commercial airline. While there,I was involved in the training of pilots and cabin crew and saw a niche in the market for training for corporate operators of business jets who had to comply with Civil Aviation Authority regulations but who were not large enough to have their own in house instructors.''
She joined forces with executive jet pilot David Lloyd and the new business quickly took off.
Global Air Training now has a client portfolio that embraces airlines from every inhabited continent in the world, including corporate and executive business jet companies,air taxi firms and civil aviation authorities from around the world.
``It is predominantly pilots,but we also train other cabin crew. Courses can vary in length from one day to five and the numbers of people on them from one to 30,'' says Worby, who holds a pilot's licence.
``Occasionally, we will do a bespoke course for a start-up airline or an airline with a new intake of crew and that could last four weeks.''
For a company that makes its living reaching for the skies,it's a little ironic that it is located in a community built on wealth from deep in the ground. Its offices are in the former coal mining village of Llay,near Wrexham, where it also has training facilities,but it also makes extensive use of cabin mock-ups at airports in the North West.
Much of the training revolves around making effective and optimum use of all available resources -crew members, airplane systems and supporting facilities -to achieve a safe and efficient operation. Termed crew resource management,it looks at the role of human factors on teams working in complex environments and how these impinge on performance.
The company also holds advanced security hijack and counter-terrorism courses,covering topics such as the use of an aircraft as a weapon,particularly relevant following the destruction of the World Trade Centre.
The company has no input into the training of sky marshals,nor does it run firearm courses, although classroom instruction does touch upon such things as recognition of the component parts of explosive devices and what to do in the event of a discovery in-flight of a suspicious package. It is one of only a handful of firms to run CAA train the trainer courses.
Post 9/11, there was increased interest in counter terrorism training -which Global Air was offering long before the terrorist attacks -but not as much as outside observers might have expected. …