Landing a career in the Aviation industry

After starting out in the world of Finance, Eleanor Simpson landed a career in the Aviation industry following a stint working within the Aviation supply team and on projects that helped her develop a comprehensive knowledge of the Aviation business. 

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Soaring to new heights

Recently, Eleanor stepped from an operational role which managed the Brisbane Airport Joint Venture for the supply of fuel at Brisbane airport, into a strategic role representing Viva Energy’s interests within the joint ventures.

Eleanor’s seven years working as Brisbane Airport’s Jet fuel Terminal Manager provided the strong operational grounding needed to take on this new challenge.

“In the operational role, I was responsible for ensuring all aircraft at Brisbane Airport were refuelled on time and with jet fuel that met the exact quality requirements set by DefStan (an international standard for aviation fuels) and the Joint Inspection Group (who lead the development of guidelines for jointly managed aviation operations). With an average of 530 planes taking off from Brisbane airport every day, this was a big responsibility.  Lucky that I had a great team who helped make this happen.”

“A typical day started with ensuring the team had everything they needed for a smooth and productive operation, ensuring there was enough stock within our supply lines, and that suppliers were aware of the fuel volumes we would need over the weeks ahead.”

As Eleanor explained, “There was always something to keep you on your toes, whether it was managing equipment issues, or checking that the hydrant system – which is the pipeline system that delivers fuel to the airport - was operating effectively.

“Due to the stringent quality control standards required for Jet fuel, the product is delivered from suppliers to the airport for storage and further testing before being delivered to an aircraft. We rely on the fuel suppliers to consistently have product ready and on specification to ensure continuity of supply to the airport and that there aren’t any delays to operations. Constant analysis and forecasting is required to ensure that the supply chain supports seamless airport operations so it is crucial too that communication with everyone involved in the supply chain is effective and timely.

“When people are sitting on a plane, waiting to take off for work or go on holiday, not many will think about or understand the effort and coordination required to ensure their plane is refueled on time, by experienced operators who go to extreme lengths to test and verify that the fuel is fit for purpose. Jet fuel is the most tightly regulated and specified fuel in the world and with that comes the need to have segregated supply chains from other fuels, adequate and qualified testing processes and laboratories, and strong product handling practices.

“It was also important that Viva Energy was across any projects or maintenance works that were planned throughout the airport, which involved working closely with the Airport Corporation to plan for anything on the horizon. This planning helped to ensure that any supply interruptions to the airport were avoided, and that our team work safely and as an integral part of the wider airport community.” 

“It was a role that was both exciting and rewarding, but one that also required continuous review of operations and compliance with strict standards and regulations. Regulations and standards in the aviation sector are critical with the safety of over 23 million people who fly in and out of Brisbane every year as well as the health and safety of the team at the airport our number one priority.” 

An outlook with clear skies ahead

“Having been at Viva Energy for almost 18 months now, I have found that there is a new energy in the people who work in the aviation part of the business. There’s a lot of promise of things to come and some refreshingly new outlooks.” 

In June 2018, a year after Viva Energy purchased Shell’s Aviation business in Australia, the company launched its own Fuel2Sky fuel card and Jet Plus fuel product for our aviation customers and also proceeded to launch the Viva Energy aviation business across more than 50 airports and airfields across Australia. 

“The rebranding of the refuelling vehicles helped build a stronger connection between the operations team and Viva Energy – they are proud of the trucks and wearing the Viva Energy brand on their shirts. It’s certainly created a sense of pride and a feeling of inclusion amongst the team.”

“People seem to be keen and excited to see what is over the horizon and I am looking forward to working with others to bring innovation and good practices to the business.  The aviation industry is an important sector to the Australian economy so I look forward to being part of that and representing Viva Energy’s interests in airport operations.”

Learn more about Viva Energy’s Aviation business. Find out more

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