Pilot Amireh’ experience during the COVID-19 pandemic can be described as a real-life roller coaster.
Pilot Amireh, who is an experienced A350 wide-body passenger jet pilot, began his professional career with Royal Jordanian Airlines, and has already spent 12,000 hours in the sky.
Today, Pilot Amireh is also a social media influencer, with an audience of 890,000, and shares his passion for the aviation with a wide audience. Through his online work, Pilot Amireh aims to inspire younger generations of pilots and aviation enthusiasts to accomplish their goals and establish strong careers in the industry.
The secret to remaining positive in tough times
Pilot Amireh began dreaming of flying a plane at an early age. He was also lucky enough to have an excellent example of an aviator at home as his father was a pilot.
Eventually, he managed to fulfill his childhood ambition and began his professional career with the Royal Air Academy. Here, he began to gain the necessary skills for controlling planes such as a Piper Cherokee PA – 28, Piper Archer PA-44, Socata TB – 200, and a twin-engine Cessna. Then, Pilot Amireh turned to commercial aviation where he initially became a first officer of an Airbus A320 jet.
Pilot Amireh visits the AeroTime studio
The more Pilot Amireh flew, the more passionate and engaged he became about flying and exploring the world through travel. This led him to expand his professional portfolio with an additional type rating to fly an Airbus A350 wide-body airline.
Back in 2019, when nobody could have predicted the pandemic that would go on to significantly impact the successful development of the global aviation industry, Pilot Amireh’s career was promising. And it seemed like nothing could darken the golden days of his blooming career.
Pilot Amireh says: “There was a shortage of pilots around the world and many companies had expansion plans. No one, to be honest, was expecting that something would happen globally that would affect the industry. We were very happy, and had a lot of plans.”
When news first broke suggesting that a new virus was spreading across the globe, Pilot Amireh, along with many other people, assumed that the uncertainty would last no longer than a few months. As a result, Pilot Amireh saw nothing to be concerned about when it came to his professional life, and believed that the situation would soon return to normal. But despite his optimistic outlook, Pilot Amireh still received disappointing news.
“At the beginning, we thought that this fire is going to stay for three-four months,” he says. “And this is the feedback that we received from airlines and our colleagues at the time. I would say that in the beginning, we were positive and optimistic that it is going to last for a couple of months.
But sadly, Pilot Amireh was wrong.
“Along with many colleagues of mine, I [was made] redundant. But there is a positive side to what happened to my career. […] As any pilot, I felt sad and shocked at the time when we received the news that we [were made] redundant. And we were afraid.
“But at the same time, I was positively hoping that things can improve. I didn’t want to look at the dark side. I told myself that okay, I lost my job, but this was not the end of the world. I am still healthy, there [are] a lot of beautiful things in life. I’m still the pilot with a license and valid medical certification, so I was focused on I should overcome this situation.”
14 exams in 53 days
But how did Pilot Amireh manage to remain calm and confident in the face of such uncertainty?
For Pilot Amireh, the key to maintaining emotional balance and peace has been through social media where he has been spreading positivity and encouragement among his young followers.
He has also been providing younger generations with educational resources about how to become a pilot.
He says: “I stood up and told myself that I had been supporting and motivating people in the past four years, and now this was my test. This was the moment when I needed to encourage and motivate myself as a person. I asked myself ‘why should I surrender? Why should I stop?’ Life is still great; we are still healthy and we have valid licenses. So, why would I stop?”
Instead of giving up, the pilot decided to do whatever was needed to secure his career. Firstly, Pilot Amireh renewed his license, so he could be a more flexible candidate for another airline. Later, he took on the role of ground instructor for the Airbus A330 aircraft type rating.
“I decided to get my EASA license and I did my best to work hard to get it,” Pilot Amireh reveals. “I even studied for 18 hours per day to finish 14 ATPL exams in 53 days, and that was my only concern at that time.”
He continues: “Once I was done with exams, I did my simulator skill test, my medical, and I was able to transfer my Airbus A350 aircraft rating to get the EASA license. So, I can open more doors, and have more opportunities, [and a] stronger license, which I can use in the future once I apply for another job.”
Pilot Amireh reveals that, even as hundreds of thousands of highly experienced pilots faced layoffs due to the impact of the pandemic on the industry, he never lost hope that he would return to the skies. Instead, he ensured that he applied maximum effort to learning and upgrading his piloting skills
He says: “I believe sometimes you have to work during the time when people may think that it is not the right time. As a pilot, you should get ready for the right moment. If I [had] waited at home and was doing nothing, and then the market opened up and an airline asked me to fly, I would have to waive an offer because I didn’t have a license.
“The right thing is to be ready, to be on top of everything. So, once you get the opportunity, you can go for it. I was thinking that I had the time available to do things. This was the right time. Time is very valuable.”
A message to the younger generation
Pilot Amireh used the time afforded to him during the pandemic to expand his professional competencies. Currently, Pilot Amireh holds an airline captain and TRI qualification with three active aircraft ratings, including Airbus A320, Airbus A330 and Airbus A350.
Based on his personal experience, Pilot Amireh believes that resilience is the key to helping aviators overcome stressful and tough times.
Pilot Amireh is also enormously grateful to the people who have provided him with support.
He says: “It’s very important to be surrounded with great positive people, great family, great colleagues, great friends that will always believe in you support you help you encourage you and make your life easier.”
Pilot Amireh believes that aviation will bounce back even stronger post-pandemic.
“You must be resilient! You must look forward and remember you are the one who makes your name in the industry, and no one else makes you. Don’t surrender,” he says. “As an aviation community, we should not give up, we should stay strong together. All of us are in this situation, and if we want to stand up again, we should unite as one family, one crew.”
So, does Pilot Amireh have any words of wisdom for those who, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, are doubting their decision to choose aviation as a profession?
He says: “Aviation will bounce back and everyone is going to get their seats. You are going to stay in the cockpit, you are going to get back to flying, and for all these student pilots, you started flying because you love it and it is your passion, so, don’t stop and continue what you are doing, do what you love.”
“In [the] coming couple of months or at least [within] one year, aviation will recover, and we are going to see all airplanes full of passengers and happy crews all together back to the skies.”