An interview with the astonishing artist Juan Calderon - Aviation for Aviators
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An interview with the astonishing artist Juan Calderon



Juan Calderon paints incredible artwork as a part-time job whilst living in Costa Rica. I sent him some questions to give the viewers a great insight into the artwork that he produces.

What makes you decide on what to paint next?


“Honestly, there is nothing in particular that makes me think what painting will be next.
Since I started painting airplanes in 2013, I have received orders to paint specific
airplanes. So, what tells me which painting is next is the list of orders that I manage.

Next year will be different, I will dedicate my time to creating paintings for my art exhibition which will be in November 2022 and this exhibition will only be about flight decks. This the event will be held in the facilities of Aeroformacion flight school in Costa Rica. Its owners and I have a very close friendship, and they have given me a lot of support with art.


Right now I am working on a painting completely different from what I have been doing these last years. It is a painting of two Hindu Gods “Krishna and Radha”, it will be owned by two very close friends of mine. I wanted to clear my mind and paint something
different and they needed someone to paint that painting, so I decided to take the
challenge and paint it for them!”

The painting of the two Hindu gods that Juan is working on

Of all the paintings you have completed, which has been your favorite to do and why?

“I like all the paintings that I have done but I actually have some favorite paintings, those

  • “Sunset at FL360”, completed in 2018. It is one of my favorites because I love aerial landscapes, especially those where the sun is appreciated in the sunsets, it reminds me that tomorrow will be a better day.
The picture “Sunset at FL360”
  • Another of the paintings that I consider one of my favorites is the King Air 250, which was completed in 2019. In this one, the airplane is lining up and waiting, which means it is waiting for authorization to takeoff. It looks like you are actually sitting in the pilot’s chair.
Juan’s picture of A King air 250, also featured in our last article
  • And of course, the first painting of a cockpit “Boeing 777-200”. This was the first painting in my area, I completed it in 2013.”
Juan’s first ever cockpit painting, a picture of the Boeing 777-200

Why did you want to work for Volaris Airlines in Costa Rica?

“I had always wanted to exercise my crew member’s license. Besides, the airline came
with a good growth plan in the region and at that time I thought it would be a great
opportunity to grow professionally together with the airline. I am grateful to the company
and I plan to continue being part of it; I have also met people to whom I have affection
and respect, who has also taught me a lot through their experience.”


At what point did you decide to make painting a second income and not just a hobby?

“When I discovered my area of strength regarding art in 2013, I realized that there were very few people painted airplanes and that is why I decided to undertake a new art
theme which, by the way, has been well appreciated by the public in the area of the
aviation. It was in 2015 that I began to receive orders from pilots and crew to paint
airplanes, since then I have dedicated myself to sales.

It is always good to have a second income and in this case, the paintings have helped to solve extra charges. In the last two years, selling paintings has helped me pay my practices in simulators and some flight hours. Also, in the time that aviation was very affected by the pandemic, I received some calls to order paintings and those sales helped me a lot to cover the debts that I had at that time. However, now it’s time to work on me and start creating the paintings for the

A picture of an Embraer E190 done by Juan.

And finally, what are some of the steps to creating a painting?

“There are some steps to follow in order to create a cockpit painting: the first one is to draw the main lines of the sketch. These lines have to be well finished because they are the base for the continuation of the rest of the steps.

A sketched outline of the Boeing 737

The second step is to trace the first layers of oil paint in order to cover the pores of the cloth. The colors of the layers depend on the main colors of the painting. When this layer dries, the following step is to trace another layer, but only if it’s necessary; a cockpit normally takes three layers.

The second step is to fill in most of the painting but not all the details

After these layers are painted, the next step to follow is to place with chalk all the buttons and switches, which will later be painted carefully. When this is done, the final steps approach. Now it’s time to give all the realistic and final details to the painting like creating shades, and retouching effects with white and striking colors.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.png
Juan then adds the final details to the painting

If you want to keep up with Juan, his Instagram account is @arts.calderon.


Interview with Sam the Avgeek and Juan Calderon


Sam Jakobi is a young aviation enthusiast based in London, UK. Sam writes articles and conducts interviews with members of the aviation community.


An interview with LATAM airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Marty St. George



LATAM airlines is the largest airline in South America, dominating the South American aviation market with over 41 million passengers being transported by the airline between January and July this year. Their route network is extremely diverse, with destinations ranging from Ecuador to Easter Island several other European, North American, African, South American and Oceanian cities. After the airline has been recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as developing Sustainable aviation within the airline, I put a few questions to Marty St. George, their Chief Commercial Officer.

(Image credit: Simple Flying)

What is LATAM doing to reduce the environmental impact of their aircraft?

As LATAM Airlines, our commitment to sustainability is reflected in various initiatives
aimed at reducing the environmental impact and promoting responsible practices. All
of them are aligned with the ambitious goals we have established which include
carbon neutrality by 2050, eliminating single-use plastics by 2023, and becoming a
zero waste-to-landfill group by 2027. In this context, recently we achieved one of our
milestones, which was carrying out our first ferry flight with SAF; to deliver a new
A320neo. The flight utilised a fuel blend containing 30% SAF produced from used
cooking oil.

Also, at LATAM we have initiated various circular economy projects to minimise
waste onboard and promote recycling. These are: the replacement of single-use
plastics with organic materials, for example using sugar cane for packaging lids, so
far we have managed to eliminate 88% of single use plastics on board; The “Recycle
your trip” programme that promotes the segregation of certain waste generated in
the on-board service to be subsequently recycled, on domestic flights in Chile, Brasil,
Perú, Colombia, & Ecuador; The “Segundo Vuelo” (Second Flight) programme, in
which South American craftswomen and entrepreneurs transform the airline’s
uniforms and various unused textile items, giving them a second life.


Lastly, it is also worth mentioning that LATAM’s cargo division is also working on
sustainability initiatives which have been recognized by IATA with the Air Cargo
Innovation Award for the plastic reduction projects in the cargo operations in Chile
and Brazil.”

LATAM have been renewing their fleet recently, however mostly with Airbus aircraft in the short-haul sector, is it likely that with the arrival of the MAX into the scene that Boeing might be able to sneak into this area?

We have strong relationships with both Boeing and Airbus. While we have focused
on renewing our short-haul fleet with Airbus aircraft, our decisions are driven by
various factors, including unit cost and complexity, passenger comfort, and
environmental impact. As of now, we prefer the cost efficiency of an all-Airbus
short-haul fleet.

LATAM’s short haul fleet is mostly compromised of the Airbus A320 Family (Image credit: AeroTime)

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Aviation industry at the moment?

“I believe that one of the most significant challenges facing aviation is the
decarbonization of the industry, and within this, the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
The limited quantity of SAF, due to the lack of necessary conditions for their
research, development and production, hinders the achievement of this major
objective of our industry.
Access to SAF in Latin America continues to be one of the major challenges faced
by the various actors seeking to use this type of fuel produced within the region.
South America has great potential to produce SAF in terms of natural resources and
expertise and thus make a very significant contribution to climate action. That is why,
as a South American airline group, we put all our efforts to provide visibility to this
issue. We have been working to incorporate 5% sustainable fuel by 2030, favoring
South American producers.”

LATAM airlines took delivery of their First A320 Neo Using sustainable aviation fuel earlier this year

At the moment, in some of the countries which LATAM serves, there are only a few destinations in the US, given developing relationships with Delta, is this likely to change?

Our partnership with Delta Air Lines has already expanded our reach in the United
States, providing passengers with enhanced connectivity and more travel options, as
well as improving the travel experience of both our passengers and cargo customers
by offering them new benefits, including an enhanced service. As our collaboration
continues to evolve, we will explore opportunities to strengthen connections between
our networks and potentially introduce new destinations that cater to customer
demand. We have already introduced nonstop service between Sao Paulo and
Delta’s hub in Los Angeles, and on October 29th, we are launching a new daily
service between Miami and Medellín, and Bogotá to Atlanta. On that same day, we
will also introduce three weekly flights between Lima and Delta’s Atlanta hub.”

(Image credit: Delta)

What lessons did LATAM learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?

“The pandemic was a defining moment for the aviation industry. LATAM learned the
importance of agility, adaptability, and resilience. We accelerated our digital
transformation to meet changing customer expectations and focused on safety
measures to ensure passenger confidence. The crisis also reinforced the
significance of collaboration with partners, governments, and health authorities in
managing unprecedented challenges.”

And finally, what can we see in the near future for LATAM?

“As the only global airline based in South America, we are devoted to connecting our
home continent to the world.
In the near future, LATAM Airlines will continue to prioritize sustainability, innovation,
and enhancing the passenger experience. We’re dedicated to furthering our fleet
renewal efforts, exploring new partnerships, and expanding our network to better
serve our customers.”

(Image credit: Airline Geeks)

Cover Image credit: Bloomberg

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Airlines of the World

An interview with Helvetic Airways CEO, Tobias Pogorevc



Helvetic Airways is a Swiss airline which operates its fleet of Embraer aircraft to destinations such as Greek islands and the Egyptian Red sea coast from their hubs in Switzerland. Their CEO, Tobias Pogorevc, has been in charge of the company since 2018 and overseen major developments such as the introduction of the Embraer E195 E2 and E190 E2 to their fleet. I put some questions to the man himself about the environment and the pandemic.

What do you see as the biggest challenge to the aviation industry at the moment?

One of the biggest challenges in the entire aviation industry is the staff situation. The pandemic
disrupted the entire aviation ecosystem and the situation is still very tense in the personnel area – both
on the ground and in the air. Helvetic Airways was able to counteract the natural fluctuation in the
cabin through early recruitment measures. In addition, as of the beginning of 2023, Helvetic Airways
has significantly expanded its existing and very popular part-time models for cabin crews, and now
offers various innovative models with “Fly your way”, in which cabin attendants can determine their
own assignments on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. Today, we employ over 240 flight attendants
and senior flight attendants in the cabin crew – more than ever before in the history of Helvetic
In the cockpit, we benefit from the good and long-standing cooperation with our sister company
Horizon Swiss Flight Academy. From this pool, we were able to recruit 24 pilots this year.
Another challenge relates to supply chains, from carpet suppliers to engine manufacturers. This will
keep the industry busy for a long time to come.

(Image credit: Aviator Newsroom)

How are you lessening the impact of Helvetic’s aircraft?

Helvetic Airways has renewed almost its entire fleet between 2019 and 2021 and now has 12 state-of-
the-art Embraer E2s – eight E190-E2s with 110 seats and four E195-E2s with 134 seats – and four
Embraer E190s. Helvetic Airways thus operates one of the most modern regional jet fleets in Europe
and the most modern fleet in Switzerland. The Embraer-E2 is currently the most environmentally
friendly regional aircraft on the market. Compared to the E1, the E190-E2 consumes 20 to 23% less
fuel per seat on European routes and the E195-E2 up to 30% less. Our own measured values are
even higher than Embraer’s factory specifications.

The E2 also sets new standards in terms of noise emissions, impressing in particular with its low noise
levels both inside the cabin and outside. The noise diagrams for departures from Zurich Airport show:
The noise contour of the Embraer E195-E2 is 28% lower than for the Airbus A319 and 60% lower than
for the Airbus A320. Particularly for airports near densely populated areas, the ability to reduce the
noise impact on people is an important factor.


What lessons did you learn from the pandemic?

In aviation, crisis situations are regularly trained for, but no one was prepared for a global crisis like the
Corona pandemic. We kept all our crews current during the pandemic so that we would be ready when
business picked up again. In retrospect, that was absolutely the right decision. But then the restart
happened faster than expected. On the one hand, we all had to get back to the “old normal” as quickly
as possible; on the other hand, the pandemic was not yet over – a balancing act that placed enormous
demands on the entire industry.
The pandemic showed us that even when things are at a standstill, you always have to keep moving.
As an airline with lean structures, we have the opportunity to implement new ideas and innovations
quickly, which proved its worth during the restart after the pandemic.

(Image credit: Aviation24be)

How is the Russo-Ukrainian war affecting Helvetic Airways’ business?

The Ukraine war and the fates associated with it are terrible but have no immediate impact on us as a
regional airline from an operational point of view. Our routes do not pass over Russian or Ukrainian
territory, which may not be flown over at present. What we do feel, however, are the indirect effects of
the war, for example on the fuel prices.

You have been CEO of the company since 2018, what has been the biggest change you have seen in the company since you became in charge?

On the one hand, as a small, private company, the fleet renewal to an E2 fleet has been very busy for
us. It is something special that we, as a niche player, can rely on the most modern fleet. But this is
only possible thanks to the financial strength of our owner, which got us through the Covid crisis even
without government aid. Today, we are financially strong, with no liabilities.
On the other hand, there was the biggest difference in the area of human resources: the needs that
applied in 2018 are outdated today. Today, we need to offer innovative and flexible working models to
recruit the best young talent. Work-life balance, diversity, inclusion must not just be buzzwords, they
must be lived.

Mr Pogorevc has been CEO of the company since 2018 (Image credit: Helvetic Airways)

Helvetic airways operates a fleet solely made up of Embraer aircraft, why was the decision made to do this?

Before unifying to an all Embraer fleet, Helvetic Airways operated Fokker100 aircraft, an Airbus A319
and Embraer E1 aircraft, four of which are still in our fleet today. The cooperation with Embraer was
excellent from the beginning and the development of the E2 series progressed well also due to our
experience and input from Switzerland. So the decision was also obvious to carry out the planned fleet
renewal in 2019 to 2021 with the new Embraer E2 models. The Embraer E2 is an aircraft of the latest
generation and therefore the right aircraft for the future. The E2 consumes significantly less fuel than
the E1 and, especially in times of high kerosene prices, it makes economic sense to operate an
aircraft that saves 20 to 30% fuel on certain routes at high load factors.
Another key reason for choosing the E2 jet was the commonalities, which is particularly advantageous
in the areas of training and maintenance.
All our pilots are certified for both the E1 and the E2, and the maintenance in our hangar is also
certified for both types of aircraft. We operate the aircraft, we maintain it and we have our own flight
school, the Horizon Swiss Flight Academy, where we train our pilots and engineers – all from Zurich.
In other words, we have specialists for all areas: training, operations and maintenance – in effect we
have become the Embraer competence center in Europe.

(Image credit: Flickr)

And Finally, what can we see in the near future for Helvetic airways?

First and foremost, our goal is to continue to offer our partners, customers and passengers reliable
flight operations with top service. In doing so, we will continue to rely on our three main pillars of
wetlease, charter and scheduled flights. Furthermore, we want to remain a good and modern employer
for our employees. Due to our manageable size, we remain agile and score with innovation and a
family atmosphere with flat hierarchies. We will continue to promote this spirit. From April, for example,
the first “Helvetic shared apartments” will be ready for occupancy – apartments rented by Helvetic
Airways and sublet to employees who do not have their main place of residence in Zurich. These
colleagues should immediately feel at home in our Helvetic family!

(Credit: Helvetic Airways)

Cover image credit: Flikr

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Interview with PLAY airlines CEO, Birgir Jonsson



PLAY airlines is the second largest airline in Iceland and its main low-cost carrier. They offer flights to destinations including the Canary Islands and a large amount places on the east coast of the US and Canada. I caught up with their CEO, Mr. Birgir Jonsson, to see how things were going in the wake of the pandemic…

How have you been reducing the environmental impact of your aircraft?

We’re committed to reducing our carbon emissions, which is why we follow regulations like the EU and UK Emissions Trading System and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. We’ve also complied with Norway’s and France’s national SAF mandates. We’re always looking for new ways to be more sustainable and reduce our impact on the environment.

What lessons have you learned from the pandemic?

The pandemic taught us how important ancillary revenue is for our airline, and we’ve worked hard to increase it to build a strong foundation for our company. We’re also dedicated to finding new ways to serve our passengers while prioritizing their safety and well-being.

PLAY airlines
(Credit: AviationSource News)

A lot of your company was founded on the basis of the collapse of Wow air in 2019; what aspects of Wow air still remain at PLAY?

While our transatlantic route network remains, everything else is new and different. We have a new fleet of Airbus A320/321neo narrowbody aircraft, and we’re a publicly listed company with nearly 4,000 shareholders. Our mission is to achieve sustainable growth with flights between the east coast of North America and Europe, using Iceland as a hub.

What do you see to be the biggest challenge to the aviation industry at the moment?

The aviation industry is facing several challenges, including surging fuel prices and intense competition. At PLAY, we’re tackling these challenges by seeking innovative digital solutions that help us reduce costs and offer lower prices to our passengers.

PLAY airlines
(Credit: The Points Guy)

Is the Russo-Ukrainian war affecting your business and if so how?

The war has led to higher fuel prices, which has affected the cost of operating our flights. However, we don’t operate routes that are directly impacted by the conflict.

You announced that February was a record month in sales for you. Do you think this is enough to put you close to Icelandair in the foreseeable future?

While we’re thrilled with our record-breaking sales in February, we recognize that Icelandair is an established company with decades of experience in the industry. Our strategy is working, but we know that it will take time and effort to achieve our goals.

PLAY airlines
(Credit: Milesopedia)

And finally, what can we see in the near future for PLAY airlines?

We’re always looking for ways to improve our services and make travel more affordable for our passengers. We’re focused on increasing our ancillary revenue and expanding our route network to serve more destinations. Our goal is to help our passengers pay less and PLAY more!

Cover image credit: Conde Nast Traveller.

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