Second placement – The Operations Centre (Airline)

It’s half way through March and I’m now a month into my second placement on the UK scheme. I’m working in the Crewing and Travel team within Airline and I sit in the middle of The Operations Centre at Wigmore House (looking out over Luton Airport). It’s been a fascinating and challenging few weeks, I’ve learnt so much about the Airline and I am starting to build a really good understanding of the remarkable variety of roles each department plays in delivering our flight programme.

‘The OC’ is the central hub from where we operate all of Thomson Airways flights. As you might imagine it’s always buzzing with activity, especially when it starts snowing and planes get delayed. Operating a flight programme is a staggeringly complicated task; we operate a fleet of 57 aircraft out of 24 UK bases, to 80 destinations worldwide. This takes 750 pilots, 2,500 cabin crew and 650 engineers and support staff to keep this daily flying operation running smoothly. And ‘The OC’ is where this is all managed and operated, the delivery point of the airline if you like.

My placement involves a number of different projects from restructuring certain functions within the department, to improving how we report on planning and operating a flight plan, and reviewing strategic objectives across departments. It’s a steep learning curve but I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge and it’s a really exciting part of the business to be involved with.

As part of my placement in Airline I’ll also get the chance to go on a familiarisation flight, fly a plane (on the flight simulator…!), take part in Crisis Simulation Workshops in the Crisis Management Centre and get to explore the Thomson Airways hangar. Keep your eyes peeled for future posts on these…

In the meantime I’ve got some work to be getting on with, but good luck to anyone looking to apply to the scheme, I hope the above has given you a flavour for what it might involve!

Will Prosser (UK Commercial Graduate)

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