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Conference Will Emphasize Flight Attendants' Top Priority: Safety
May 28, 2012
For the past five years, members of the NBAA Flight Attendants Committee have been determined to develop a strategy of global collaboration among cabin crews.
Those efforts were on display earlier this month when they staged the Cabin Crew Symposium at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, and will be highlighted again at NBAA’s 17th Annual Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference, set for June 14 to 16 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago, IL.
The focus of each event showcases the progress cabin crewmembers around the world have achieved in gaining recognition, training and acceptance, according to Aircare Crews Staffing Director Scott Arnold, a past chairman of the committee.
“We’ve dealt with those issues for years in the [United] States, where, according to FAR Part 91, you’re not required to have a flight attendant on board. But just because we’re not required, doesn’t mean we’re not needed on board the aircraft,” said Arnold.
While up to 90 percent of European flight attendants receive two weeks of training in emergency and evacuation procedures, Arnold said that training is conducted by airlines. “That’s valuable training, but it’s nothing specific to business aviation. The training is fine, but the configuration is different.”
Flight Attendant Committee members and officers, like Arnold and Vice Chair Dodie Thomas Johns, of Altria Client Services, are reaching across the Atlantic to provide better safety training for European cabin crewmembers, Arnold said.
“Companies from the U.S. are now providing corporate-specific training for EU flight attendants in Amsterdam and Paris,” he said. Those companies include FlightSafety International and Aircare FACTS Training.
At both the European symposium and the annual U.S.-based conference, Arnold said attendees quickly realize “there is a lot more to it [being a flight attendant] than just serving food in the back of the plane. There’s the safety aspect.”
“There are a lot of duties, but ultimately, our primary job is safety,” said Boeing’s Mary Ann Fash, who chairs the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee.
To that end, more professional development sessions are being offered at this year’s conference in Chicago. Along with leadership discussions aimed at sharing best practices, the event will offer a workshop in career essentials; a session on global security chaired by Tom Winn of Frontier MEDEX Security Services; and just in time for the 2012 Olympics in London, a panel discussion on “How to Survive a Ramp Inspection at Home and Abroad.”
The conference will conclude with a safety-oriented session titled “Brace for Impact,” during which crewmembers from US Airways Flight 1549 will recount their experiences on the flight dubbed “Miracle on the Hudson.”
Jeff Skiles, who served as first officer on the flight, along with Doreen Welsh, one of the flight attendants who helped save all 155 people on board, will talk about what happened on that remarkable day in 2009. They’ll also discuss what business aviation crew members can learn from their experience.