The struggle of staying grounded while flying high

Words by: Thianna-May Campbell

In an increasingly polarised society, to consider yourself a ‘climate-conscious Aviator’ is a risky and dangerous game. Although this term may seem like a strange paradox to some, I would argue that we are neither deluded nor hypocritical, instead, we are an optimistic group focused on implementing tangible change in a hard-to-abate sector.  

As passionate as I am, and as deeply as I wish to see a collectively climate-conscious society, you will not catch me at an extinction rebellion protest; my drive for change is of more value elsewhere. I am the product of an outspoken, unfiltered and unwavering generation, not shy of a protest or whatever means of activism deemed necessary. Although, I am well aware of the fact that glueing myself to the nearest A road during rush hour will only yield frustration and resistance.  

The ability to assess when unfiltered outrage and activism is warranted is absolutely necessary for ensuring reform and development. How we redirect our guilt and frustration is crucial and without that discernment it is evident that we risk regressing in terms of public support and increasing climate consciousness throughout the general population.  


Can we celebrate Earth Day? 

Contrary to what some would call my ‘cynical’ sentiments, I firmly believe that Earth Day is a day for aviators to celebrate. With the progress being made through the implementation of SAF, the development of EVTOL aircraft, and the push for regulation, we no longer need to shy away from the celebrations of altruistic endeavours. Equally, there’s no longer a need for it to stir up an internal conflict for those who do care for the well-being of our global ecosystems.  

Victor has played a pivotal role in demonstrating that climate consciousness can be effectively exercised without gritty activism, futile outrage and virtue signalling. It can be as simple as sharing an article and sparking a healthy discussion amongst colleagues in the office kitchen. It takes little more than a 5-minute conversation to enlighten your members on the sustainable options available to them, and it requires no more than what you’re willing to give.  

Since 2018, Victor has been championing a more sustainable way to fly through various programmes and initiatives. In June 2022, we began a partnership with Neste, the world’s largest provider of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and it has been encouraging to see that one in five of our customers are buying some SAF across all bookings. 

What can the aviation industry do better? 

It’s crucial to give credit where credit is due and to acknowledge the contribution of key facilitators throughout the general aviation sector and the industry as a whole, however, we mustn’t neglect the power found in accountability and critical evaluation. It’s all too easy to look at the progress made and deem it sufficient when held in comparison to the glacial rate at which the industry developed 20 – 30 years ago; But, when you’re young and you lack the advantage of seniority in retrospection, it will never truly feel like enough to offset the impending sense of doom we are lumbered with as generation. This fuels an incomparable drive for change, the sense of urgency coupled with an inherently innovative nature is what’s required to propel the advancement of the general aviation sector.  

Incremental gains are frustrating but the generation of young professionals currently stepping out into the workforce have vast potential to shape the private charter industry, but not without the support of the affluent and influential who behold the power and resources to make the notable difference that we collectively hope to see. 

Acknowledging the social element of sustainability 

One of the aviation industry’s primary purposes is to maintain cultural connectivity, yet far too often we fail to see that exemplified within the development of sustainable solutions. This urges us to consider the value of cultural diversity throughout this expanding niche. Cultural diversity encourages thought diversity – which is imperative in ensuring sustained growth. Those who have sustainability embedded within them and those who naturally live and think with sustainability at the forefront of their mind are truly valuable for any organisation, but more so those throughout the aviation industry. The inclusion of various demographics harbours notable results in terms of innovation, design and practice.   

Although the commercial aviation industry sometimes feels a whole world away, we must consider the fact that if thought diversity has had such a notable impact on a major commercial airline, it will undoubtedly yield even better results in the general aviation sector where creativity is of greater value in day to day operation and each individual experience is so carefully tailored.  

As we travel across the globe, we expand our cultural capacity whether it’s for food, fashion, or history. But are we utilising and maximising the opportunity to learn and implement the sustainable practices and principles of the cultures and demographics that demonstrate what it truly means to look after the Earth?  

Through variation in thought processes produced by cultural distinction, paired with the raw passion and fear-driven motivation of a generation who have been immersed in the increasing rate of destruction, we cultivate the optimal environment for growth – we cultivate thought diversity. Thus facilitating an increase in engagement and efficiency in synthesising sustainable solutions.