Emirates pilot Massimo: no prospects for seasoned pilots post-crisis?
After 13 years of glamorous aviator life at Emirates, Massimo Ferrini, the former pilot, was forced to change his lifestyle and even residence completely. Having spent almost his whole life working in the aviation industry, Massimo now has a job in global nutrition and weight management company.
Having been in the aviation industry for almost 40 years, Massimo remembers that his road to the flight deck was winding. The second-generation aviator begun his career in the Air Force and then moved to an airline for a flight dispatcher position in his home country. He had to switch a few companies until finally receiving “a golden offer”, which helped him reach his goal of the lifetime.
“I always wanted to become a pilot because I was always in touch with many pilots and other flight dispatchers. I had almost given up on my desire to become an airline pilot, but they tried to convince me to continue to pursue my desire, my goals,” Massimo smiles.
While focusing on the flight dispatcher position, Massimo soon received a tempting offer from one of the Italian air carriers, proposing him to join the airline as an English-speaking flight dispatcher with an opportunity to obtain the type rating for the aircraft the company was operating. Soon after, Massimo became an Assistant Chief Pilot and his career took off.
“My career in Emirates began almost 13 years ago, in 2008. The airline was looking for pilots. One Captain, a friend of mine, asked me: ‘Why don’t you apply there? It could be a good opportunity for you and your career.’ So, I applied and was invited for an interview.”
Massimo remembers that since he had no other commitments for any airline at the time, he joined Emirates quickly and moved to Dubai together with his wife. The talented aviator had the potential to upgrade to the Captain position in the airline, but due to health problems and unavoidable surgery, Massimo was forced to postpone his dream. Fate did not let him fulfill it.
After 13 years spent at Emirates, in September 2020, the pilot’s career suffered an abrupt turn. Massimo remembers that after he received a warning letter informing him about his redundancy, he spent up to three months in Dubai closing his rental contracts and bank accounts as well as dealing with other paperwork. The aviator says Covid changed his personal life, as well as the career.
When working for Emirates, Massimo lived in Dubai. After redundancy, the experienced pilot had to move back to Rome, his home city, and start rebuilding his career from scratch.
The 60-year-old pilot realized that despite his enormous experience in the aviation field, his age could appear the main factor that would deprive him of a possibility to return to the industry after the pandemic. Massimo quickly learned that he must have his own plan that he would work on to secure financial stability as thousands of experienced pilots around the globe were made redundant at the same time.
“I have found myself without a job and a future in the aviation industry.”
Despite the stress, Massimo returned to Rome and applied for unemployment while looking for a new job. Soon he received a promising offer from a global nutrition and weight management company, where he took up an independent distributor position.
“For me, it was perfect because I wanted to work at home while I was fixing the house. It was one of the probably few strong companies that had been able to grow 30% during the worst period of the pandemic. This was a strong, reliable, welcoming, globally established company, which offered me the opportunity of [financial] freedom.”
“I believe in the company and I know that you need to work hard. It's not an easy thing. [...] For now, I just insist on this opportunity that they gave me. I can see that this is a big, huge promising market. At the same time, I always look around for job opportunities for flying.“
Massimo says the pandemic has taught professionals of all industries, especially aviators, that the most important quality for a person dealing with a crisis is the ability to adapt to changing environment and willingness to improve himself.
“You need to learn something new at the point that you need to be able to adapt. [...] You need to find out how can you improve yourself? What can you do? What other qualifications I have and how can I use that knowledge. Of course, it will be stressful because you need to reconsider your life and career and it is difficult. It takes a lot of commitment, a lot of consideration, a lot of focus on the future rather than the past.”
“But I think the best point I learned is that I need to make my own decisions before anybody else does it for me.”
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