Dj’s aviation is a youtube channel known for its excellent coverage of aviation events and the everyday goings of the aviation world. Dan has almost 325,000 subscribers on Youtube and has reported on topics such as the up-and-coming Boeing 797. Join me as I put some questions to the man himself.
At what point did you first get interested in aviation?
“My love for aviation started at the age of 3 or 4, somewhere around there. It was all thanks to my parents, especially my Dad, who would bring me to the airport’s outskirts each weekend. We’d sit in the car and watch the planes arrive and depart. In the back, I’d often play with my Hotwheels cars. Being very young and this being 2003/04, flight tracking applications were not something readily available. Instead, I’d have to browse the Melbourne airport website the day before and write down the arrivals and departures on paper. There was an element of surprise. With no videography or photography due to my age, I enjoyed the planes for what they were—an incredible achievement by us as humans and in the engineering world. I’d guess the registrations and aircraft types with my Dad in a little notebook. A book I still have to this day. My interest in the aviation scene only grew regarding videography and photography from this point forward. I started with a point-and-shoot camera and worked my way up over 14 years to where I own professional gear. “
When did you decide that you wanted to share your love of aviation on YouTube?
“When I was 14, I created my Youtube channel and started sharing my love for the aviation world, funnily enough, it was my mum’s idea, so I guess I owe her a lot, not just for how she raised me, her crazy love for the Boeing 747 and planespotting, but for also recommending I start the YouTube channel. I wasn’t the popular kid in school, so I often spent my weekends at home or the airport. But, the genius she is, my mum made a valid point that I wasn’t doing anything with the images and footage I created at the airport. That’s when she suggested uploading it to Youtube. So, in July of 2015, I started Dj’s Aviation Videos, as it was previously known, and uploaded my first video, which was planespotting.”
If you had advice that you could give to other aviation YouTubers, what would it be?
“Be unique; There’s no use doing something someone else is doing, at least in my eyes. That’s not to say you can’t upload planespotting or flight reviews. However, put your spin on it. Give someone a reason to watch your content over someone else’s doing something similar. Maybe it’s your community feel. Perhaps it’s your sense of humor. Lean into something and go with it. Trust me. It’ll do wonders because there’s nothing better than not just on Youtube but also in the life to be unique. It stands you apart from the crowd and people, maybe not now but later will appreciate that.
Have fun. The most important thing is to make content that you enjoy, and if you don’t, switch it until you find something you do. Of course, it’s a lot easier said than done. Producing content can be tiring, whether it’s a job or a hobby, but once you find that topic or style of video you enjoy, everyone will notice, and your skills will shine through. Of course, having fun is also essential because, ideally, especially if uploading is your hobby, you don’t want your escape from the stress of life to be something not enjoyable.”
What made you want to launch your second channel, Dj’s transport?
“I’ve been uploading aviation content for almost seven years to Dj’s Aviation with videos daily, there are over 2,000 videos now on that channel, and it’s a tiring process. I’ve always been interested in other forms of transport but never really got the chance to enjoy them. The goal and reason I wanted to launch Dj’s Transport were to have fun again. Whether it was uploading train spotting, learning more about Eurostar, or even Amtrak. I just wanted to have fun publishing on YouTube, and while this contradicts my answer to your last question, I think doing the same thing on Dj’s Aviation for so long left me burnout and wanting more. Starting the second channel in some of the spare time I had allowed me to have another community, relax and do what I wanted without the pressures.”.
What has been the best moment that you’ve had whilst being a YouTuber?
“Attending the launch of Northern Pacific Airways in the United States earlier this year would have to be the ‘best moment.’ I don’t think anything will top the week of events and the fantastic people I met personally. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I loved every second of it. There were many pinch-me moments during the event. However, most of all, I think it allowed me to see that everything I had done, all the late nights, unfortunately, all the bullying and abuse I went through online and in school was worth it in the end to have this opportunity to be covering the launch of a new airline on the other side of the world. Honorable mentions this year would have to be the various interviews I’ve conducted with executives within the aviation industry, whether it be commercial or private. My love for the media and communication field has allowed me to develop my interview and journalism skills. Still, it’s also given me a better understanding of the other side of the aviation industry. “
What helps you to decide what to create a video on?
“Content creation is my full-time job. Unfortunately, deciding the best topic to cover comes down to what I believe people will watch solely. There’s content I’d love to cover but sadly sometimes don’t get the chance to do, whether that be due to time available or sadly not enough people tuning in to the coverage on that topic. Being as transparent as possible, as this is my job and I have bills to pay, there’s always an element of needing to ensure that people will watch the videos. Without people tuning in, food won’t be on my plate at the end of the day, and continuing to upload to Dj’s Aviation would no longer be feasible. I always have an idea of what I want to cover, and when something appears, whether it be a new interview, report, or release, I’ll tend to focus on something I firmly believe will be of more interest to people. Say a major U.S airline over an Australian regional operator. My series of ‘Aviation news weekly’, if you will, has allowed me to cover more niche topics. However, of course, due to time constraints, even then, there’s stuff I still miss out on.”
Featured image credit: Dj’s aviation on Facebook
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.
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
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
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
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.”
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.”
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.”
Cover Image credit: Bloomberg
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Cover image credit: Flikr
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.
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.
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.
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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