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Orescan: Opportunities are Boundless

It’s a matter of thinking outside of the box.


September 27, 2007
By Chris Orescan

Topics

One does not have to look far in our industry or in the province of
Alberta to see that opportunities are boundless – everywhere you look
there are new ventures and the need for new people and ideas. People
are relocating to Alberta by the thousands, and in doing so, have
created several effects; there has been an infusion of additional money
and with that, an increase in housing costs to record levels. Many
people have profited by this, but for many, finding a suitable place to
live is an impossible feat; the common expression out here is, “Yes, we
have plenty of jobs, but you better have a place to live before you
come out.” There is no doubt about it – our industry and our economics
are strong, and there are plenty of opportunities.

In
Alberta, these opportunities have presented themselves to pilots of all
levels, and for that matter, AMEs, operations personnel, ramp and
support personnel, and let’s not forget ATC. Solutions are needed for
increased air traffic volumes for various airspaces and airports;
solutions for ATC centres with reduced controllers are also needed. In
addition, there’s a strong need and opportunity to develop new airline
auditing services and to challenge existing ones.

Various
industries are showing an increasing need to move more personnel,
equipment and supplies within Alberta and to other regions throughout
Western and Northern Canada. With that, opportunities exist to
implement and establish better methods of moving larger volumes of
people, and larger and heavier pieces of equipment on a regular and
reliable basis. Alberta’s highway to the oilsands centre of Fort
McMurray in the northeast is problematic, congested and slow, and there
is no feasible plan in place to solve this problem for the foreseeable
future; yet growth in the region continues at a staggering rate, as it
does in Grande Prairie in the province’s northwest. Similar solutions
are needed with the continued growth of the mining sectors in the north.

Recent
events surrounding the foiled terrorist plots to bomb transatlantic
aircraft created a lot of nervousness in the industry. It also had a
ripple effect – governing authorities and airlines quickly limited and
banned all liquids and gels, and changed how carry-on luggage is viewed
and handled. Initially there were enormous delays and confusion while
people tried to figure out these new rules and the media concentrated
on how vendors and the travelling public were suffering yet again.

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We
can look at the reaction to these events from an opportunity
perspective. Some authorities have relaxed on the items allowed for
carryon while others have not, and you can expect this to continue for
some time yet. But this has also brought with it room to develop new
screening methods and new methods to develop how carryon luggage is
stowed as well as new chances for the sale of safe and secure items in
secure zones, just to name a few.

In North America, the regular
air traveller is a businessperson and travel is an integral part of
doing business; companies are once again viewing how they transport
their personnel. We have already seen some increase in corporate flying
and I would expect that we will continue to see this growth as
companies are shown its benefits. Favourable circumstances exist to
shore up and develop more of Canada’s fractional owners, but companies
must be shown that it can be affordable, well-managed and that the
benefits outweigh the alternatives. Companies need to be shown that
fractional and/or managed aircraft by companies who already have the
personnel and systems in place can be a realistic and beneficial
solution. By the same token, the airline that develops and introduces
new systems to deal with these additional safety and convenience issues
will also benefit.

The upcoming VLJ (Very Light Jet) market is
growing and I expect we will see some development but only a fraction
of what we see happen in the US. However, there will be openings to
crew and/or manage such aircraft.

The opportunities are plenty,
just as the solutions and technologies are present for many of the
challenges. Entrepreneurs and an entrepreneurial mind-set are needed.
Solutions and growth in today’s complex and complicated world regularly
requires thinking outside of the box, and I am left wondering – where
have all the Howard Hughes gone?