30 April 2020


We asked Mo Bro Jonno what life has been like as a pilot during Covid-19
Mental Health
I was training in Melbourne for my new position as a co pilot on the Airbus for Jetstar New Zealand when we were told our training was going to be stopped and we needed to get back to NZ before the boarders closed. 
The entire Airline industry worldwide has been badly hit. Being a pilot is quite specialized and most pilots don’t have many transferable skills so that’s a challenge. In the past if an airline were to collapse, the industry would usually be growing and there may have been vacant positions at other domestic or international airlines. Unfortunately that is not that case at the moment. With the global economy taking quite a knock we don’t know how long it will be before the demand for travel could return. It could be 6, 12, 18 or 24 months but no one knows. 
Working for Jetstar has been a real blessing. The Qantas Group leadership throughout this time has been very good. Even though more than 2/3rds of the company has been stood down the company has said that it’s a priority not to make anyone redundant and they want to save as many jobs as possible so that everyone can return to work as soon as the demand returns.  Both the NZ and Aus government have shown great leadership and support especially with things like the wage subsidy and job keeper, so that’s been great. There’s a lot of uncertainty around when people will back in an aircraft flying again. 
Being in lockdown in NZ has been interesting. It’s really been a time of reflection and reviewing priorities. I’ve always wanted to grow a long beard but being a pilot that’s never been possible so I’m quite excited to be doing that. I set a walking goal to walk 100km during lockdown. So that’s kept me busy along with some yoga with my wife. I’ve taken the time to do a few courses online to learn new skills. I know that I might not fly with in the next few months or years so I got a job outside of the aviation industry as a packer which I’m quite excited about. There are guys in the aviation and tourism industry who are definitely facing greater challenges than I am so we need to do what we can to support each other.
I’ve tried to use the time to check in with a number of people through phone calls, text and zoom. We’ve got a great network of friends who check on us which we are so grateful for. As a guy I still keep certain struggles to myself until a mate calls me and when he’s vulnerable it’s easier to be honest about anxiety or any worries I might have. The media is probably the thing I need to avoid the most or at least  filter.
I still think that as long as we have breath in our lungs there is definitely hope.