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Michael van der Voort

Captain, Amsterdam

So much has changed around the world — how are you feeling about all of this?

There's no easy answer. I've been with the company for over seven years. I parked a Global 6000 late December in Melbourne, Australia, thinking I was leaving a chapter behind me and very much looking forward to flying a new aircraft. I was trained for the Global 7500 and went to the simulator for 38 days in Montreal in January and February. I came back from that and the world was starting to slowly face the facts of what was happening with COVID-19.

I went back home to Amsterdam and then I was recalled to duty on the Global 6000, like the other newly trained Global 7500 pilots. Whilst some other pilots were in lockdown, I managed to fly around the world in over a hundred hours with the same co-pilot and a few cabin hostesses.

Have you noticed any differences in the way you are interacting with customers?

Many flights in March were bringing people back home and reuniting them with their families. We often received messages from customers before the flights requesting no interaction, and of course we adhere to protocol and wear masks and gloves. As soon as passengers are safely and comfortably onboard, they seem very relaxed.

Are you seeing additional security for customers or crew?

Things have definitely changed. In Sydney, customs used to come to the aircraft – now we have to go to their office. The new process takes 75 minutes – it’s very difficult and time consuming for crew.

I had another instance when I had to fly from Portugal to Austin, Texas. We had to stop in Chicago, one of the largest airports in the world, park up next to the FBO and shut down the aircraft. It then took us 45 minutes to walk across the airport with the passengers all the way through to the COVID-19 checkup point at customs, clear our passports and then all the way back to the aircraft.

Are you finding you are relying more on your team to get through your rotation?

Absolutely. I am very fortunate that we have a great team. Although I’ve not flown with everyone before, as many crew members have been mixed up because of extended rotations, I know that I’m working with the best and most experienced people.

We work really hard and on long duties together, we hang out together and we stay in the same hotels, so it’s no surprise that we get close to one another. It’s funny because after three or four weeks together, you can’t even give each other a hug goodbye, even though you’ve got to know this person very well!

You mentioned that you were looking forward to flying on the Global 7500. How do you feel now flying the Global 6000 again?

Flying again on the Global 6000 is no punishment at all! I love flying it. I’m an experienced Captain so I have no problem or lack of motivation to keep going. Of course, I am looking forward to flying on the Global 7500, I’m convinced it will be a huge game changer in the long run and I'm looking forward to help making it a success.

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