From diplomatic world stage to crisis-hit aviation

Vygaudas Usackas left his diplomatic career to join a growing global aviation business, but within a few months the industry turned upside down

Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas
Member of the Board of Directors
Avia Solutions Group

My Covid story starts when I joined the board of Avia Solutions Group in September 2019. After a lifetime in political and diplomatic positions and having developed a passion for all things related to aviation, it was an exciting time and the future was clear. We had major plans for 2020 and my role was to support the business during a period of significant growth, acquisitions and preparation for our IPO. Within a few short months, the world started to be turned upside down and our plans were forced to change.

We never lost any of our ambition, determination or focus and we were continuously impressed and humbled by the lengths our team members would go to in order to do the right thing and to keep our business, and the industry, on track. However, what my diplomatic career had taught me was that when you are confronted with a major event, especially one that has an impact around the globe, you have to be realistic, pragmatic and flexible. You need to be ready to respond to the latest development, even if it was something you never saw coming. You have to be nimble and dynamic. You should also retain the long term vision and demonstrate resilience to carry on.

I’m the first person to take my hat off to all of those thousands of aviation industry colleagues who have battled through this tumultuous period. My colleagues at ASG and I have done everything we can to offer our support where we could and I will be forever grateful for the enormous efforts of everyone involved. As we start 2021, I look back on my Covid story and reflect on the rollercoaster ride of the last year. The ups, downs, highs and lows as we battled the pandemic and the significant impact on our business and our longer term plans. But I also look back on the success and the small contribution we have been able to make to the recovery, whether by flying PPE in the early months or now helping with the mammoth task of distributing the vaccine.

But aside from all of that, I look back at the resilience of not only the aviation industry but of humanity itself. When we work together we can withstand anything and my Covid story shows how we adapt and we carry on even when confronted with the worst possible situation. I trust that 2021 will allow our friends and colleagues across the industry to get back to their track and I look forward to seeing aircraft return to the skies where they belong.

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