AvAir, the company providing strategic solutions for aircraft aftermarket recently completed 20 years in the industry. On this occasion, MRO Business Today assistant editor, Swati.k had a candid chat with Mike Bianco, CEO of AvAir about his journey in the aviation industry over the past two decades, the challenges he faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, their mantra for survival and much more. Read On!
Q – AvAir recently completed 20 years in business aviation. What can you tell about your experiences to our readers about the journey so far?
A – The aviation industry, like a lot of industries, is very cyclical in nature. As the first employee of AvAir in 2000, I have been there every step of the way through the really great years and the significant economic downturns like 9/11 or the Great Depression. My roles over the last 20 years at AvAir gave me a unique perspective to understand the inner workings of AvAir and the industry overall and how to prepare for times of uncertainty.
Q – Can you tell us about your most challenging experience that you’ve faced and how did you tackle it?
A – The coronavirus pandemic is the most challenging experience that I’ve ever faced. There have been a lot of challenges with specific aspects of the business, but I know we’re not alone in this. Unfortunately, it’s affected everyone in the industry and around the world. At AvAir, we anticipate and plan ahead for the next downturn and have adequate cash reserves to weather the storm.
Q – Over the many years since its inception, AvAir has maintained a robust employee retention rate of 80 percent. Will the post-COVID-19 pandemic have an influence on the employee retention strategy of AvAir?
A – By planning ahead and having our finances strong, we have not only weathered the storm, but retained all of our employees and continued to hire. I believe we’re through the worst of the pandemic and we’re not planning to change that percentage anytime soon.
Q – Was aviation always your first choice of career? What advice would you give to the current students pursuing aviation as their dream?
A – Aviation wasn’t my first choice of career; I actually stumbled into it by chance. The best part about the aviation industry is that there are so many different aspects to the industry that are fascinating and rewarding. There are so many different facets that can be wonderful careers. Elon Musk once said that there are too many talented people in finance and law and that we need more people making things and I agree wholeheartedly. We need to encourage more talented people to be creators.
Q – How is AvAir dealing with the current crisis?
A – Our partnership with Corrum Capital Partners ensures that we are well capitalized and able to make strategic investments during an economic downturn. This allows us to be better positioned to serve customers and take care of our team. In addition, before the coronavirus stimulus was passed including the Paycheck Protection Program, we provided all of our employees a USD 500 bonus to use at their favourite local businesses as an effort to help small businesses survive during these unprecedented times. From there, activities like virtual workouts and training were implemented to keep up employee morale while the team worked from home to accommodate for social distancing.
Q – How soon according to you will the global aerospace industry bounce back in this COVID-19 pandemic situation?
A – Based on what we’re seeing on the aftermarket side of the industry, I believe we’re still a few years away from a full recovery, but will see a 50-60 percent recovery by the end of the year. We will be busy as we continue to recover and all of the planes that have been parked during the pandemic will need to be brought back into service.
Q – In today’s times, when many of our industry colleagues are facing business losses, pay-cuts, or event downsizing, what is your mantra for survival in the crisis?
A – My mantra for survival in the crisis is “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” It’s a slogan from the Marine Corps that I recently heard and really stuck with me. We can plan for the future all we want, but things might go differently than anticipated. We’re experiencing that now and using our experiences to adapt and come out the other side a better company than before the pandemic.
Full MRO Business Today article link: https://www.mrobusinesstoday.com/improvise-adapt-and-overcome-mike-biancos-secret-to-success-exclusive-interview