In a short pre-conference interview, AIR Convention team asked the Vice President of Emergency Response at Norwegian Susanna Halonen-Manner to share her insights on successful stress management, the role of communication and the hardest aspects of dealing with emergency situations.

Susanna Halonen-Manner has been Vice President Emergency Response of Norwegian Group Airlines since 2015. She is currently a member of the Board of the Aviation Emergency Response Organization (AERO) in Washington DC. Her previous work history includes work in the field of emergency response for other airlines and airline alliance work primarily at a strategic level.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The concept of speed and accuracy. In the early onset, when handling an incident, the event tends to unfold rapidly. In addition, information, not necessarily factual, goes viral simultaneously. This can be a challenge if you are not well-rehearsed. This is the reason why I am keen on the fact that our organization do practice start-up scenarios in a systematic manner.

How do you manage stress during emergency cases?

This is an important question and boils down to leadership training. As the overall responsible for our emergency response, I ensure that our leaders get regular training on how to deal with stressful situations. In addition, one should never underestimate the importance of having simple routines in place for the duration of a shift, meal breaks, adequate rest, etc.

What is the importance of communication for your job?

Communication is key. The importance is well highlighted when handling an incident. It can seriously harm your business and brand if handled poorly. The good thing is that you can do lots of preparation and practice. That is for us a part of a good communication strategy.

What is the most interesting aspect people don’t know about your area of expertise?

It is cultural diversity. We have colleagues in our team located at various locations globally. It is so fascinating to learn how e.g. we can have a different approach to solve a task or manage a process and yet work towards the same goal. Cultural diversity for us creates tolerance.

What inspires you the most in aviation?

The fact that the aviation industry is global and offers the opportunity for people to travel to explore new places. This is particularly true now when the industry has been more deregulated allowing for competition which benefits the customer through more affordable airfares.