Aircraft are not made to stand still. And the same goes for our colleagues, who have missed their jobs dearly. We're happy that on Monday, we will finally hit the skies again. But restarting flight operations after 12 weeks of hibernation doesn't happen overnight. Getting an aircraft out of parking mode and making it airworthy again takes about as much time as parking it. Getting our flying staff back up in the air is also something that isn't taken lightly.
In normal circumstances, a commercial pilot who flies on a regular basis goes through a strict training regime every 6 months, to keep up with all procedures. Now that our pilots have not been in a cockpit for 3 months and do not meet the mandatory "3 landings in 90 days" standard, we need to retrain them to make sure they are ready to get back in the cockpit. A simulator test, as well as a theoretical exam and Crew Resource Management training help get them ready for 15 June.
Also our cabin crew colleagues get a refresher course and are trained to apply the new procedures and measures that we have put in place.
As for our birds, they are pretty high maintenance, even when they have been on the ground for a long period. Remember how we told you that the storage of an aircraft takes about 400 man hours and they still require regular checks and maintenance? Well, unpacking an aircraft and making it airworthy again takes about 200 man hours, too. From testing all computer systems, getting the cabin ready, to unwrapping the landing gear and engines, nothing is left to chance in aviation.
This series of photos and videos shows the unpacking of our aircraft, as well as the training of our pilots. You can download and use the pictures below with copyright Brussels Airlines. Footage of the unpacking process as well as the pilot training can be downloaded here