Søren Westerdahl, the co-founder of Pro Pilots Consulting, started his career in aviation over two decades ago in the military. Now, Westerdahl uses his 20 years of experience to consult aviation companies, aspiring pilots and seasoned professionals of the industry. The veteran of the sector says that change is coming to aviation – with young professionals being more assertive to get what they deserve, aviation companies will have to offer more.
Why did you choose to work in aviation?
I decided to become a civil pilot after having done military flying which was my childhood dream. The combination of being able to explore the world, having an office with a view and a working day which is always different from the one before still inspires me.
What is the most remarkable change of low cost airlines you are looking for?
I look forward to low cost airlines improving their terms and conditions for their staff and that the “social dumping” that we have witnessed for years will cease. For years, aviation has been an industry that many have dreamed of working in but, sadly, many find that it is not as glorified as they had expected. With a new generation which is not afraid of asking “what is in it for me”, recruiting and retaining staff will get more challenging.
What is the most interesting thing people don’t know about your field?
When recruiting and screening pilots, observing and analysing how the candidate keeps the interior in his/ her car and observing their shoes, is likely to provide you with a more honest impression of their personality than a competency based interview.
Your personal inspirations are…?
I often get my personal inspirations from listening and talking to other people. I recall a conversation with an older Egyptian man who asked me “isn’t it funny to be living in Denmark”? Astonished over his question I asked him why he thought it was funny to live in Denmark. Without hesitation he continued “Well, it is not every day I succeed in providing food for my family so we can go to bed not feeling hungry, but the days where I do – I smile a lot. In Denmark, where you are from, I do not think you struggle to provide food for your family, so everyone must be smiling and it must be funny to live in a country where everyone is smiling.”
In many ways this humble and wise man, who I was fortunate to have a longer conversation with, taught me more about life than years of studying.