By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Transdev Brisbane

AN INCREASING NUMBER of former employees collectively from Australasia’s biggest airlines are now quickly adapting their skills to work ‘closer to the ground’, finding work with public transport provider Transdev, the company states.

Ex-Qantas 787-9 second officer Chris Davis [left] and ex-Jetstar 787-8 first officer Clint Butcher now both drive urban and charter services at Transdev Brisbane.

Close to 30 ex-airline staffers thus far have transitioned as new employees to public transport from the aviation sector since March and the company was fielding increased interest, confirms Transdev Australasia’s chief People and Culture officer Paul Birch.

"To their credit governments in Australia and New Zealand have continued to support public transport services during the pandemic, keeping our cities’ vital transport options open to those in our community who rely on it, and this means we’ve been in the positive position of being able to offer new employment opportunities," Birch said.

"The aviation sector is renowned for its focus on safety, operational excellence, and a strong customer service culture, which are areas that very much align with our business and the public transport industry at large.

"Already our new employees are making a noticeable contribution to the business, commencing roles as trainee train drivers or bus drivers, customer service, or in corporate services."


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Of the current 27 ex-aviation employees, their new roles have been shared across Transdev’s Australian and New Zealand operations with 13 based in Auckland and the remainder in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Previous roles held by Transdev’s new recruits range from domestic and international pilots, cabin crew, guest services, trainers and ground staff, confirms Transdev.

Birch himself was a previous veteran of the aviation sector, having worked for both Ansett in Australia and Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, the company states.

"There are a lot of synergies between the public transport and aviation sectors, and while the vehicles, routes and altitude may be different, we are people serving people – and the expectations around safe, friendly and professional service remain the same," Birch said.

"We are proud to have such amazing talent joining us at Transdev," he added.

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Ex-Qantas 787-9 second officer Chris Davis and ex-Jetstar 787-8 first officer Clint Butcher have both started working with Transdev Brisbane.

Commentating to ABC magazine about their roles, Chris Davis said: "It’s really good to have secure employment, after being stood down, and not too many prospects in the aviation sector."

"The company has been fantastic. The role itself, bus driving - there are a lot of similarities to our day-to-day work as pilots."

"The role of bus driving is a lot more face-to-face, though this is no different to previous roles that we’ve had as pilots in smaller aircraft."

Clint Butcher added: "I feel like it has been a fairly easy transition from flying to bus driving. There’s not too many dissimilarities to the roles, obviously one is being in an aircraft and the other is in a bus." "Aviation - much the same as bus driving - is primarily about customer service."

"In both instances it is the passengers that we are here for. It is about getting them from point A to B as efficiently and as safely as possible.

"In both aviation and bus driving there is an expectation that it’s going to be a safe journey."

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Locally based in Melbourne since 1998, Transdev Australasia employs more than 5,700 people to operate bus, light-rail, ferry, and train services in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland, and Wellington privately and under contract with state and local governments, it explains.

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