Behind the wings: Cristina, Flight Operations Officer

Meet #DreamTeam's Cristina Stamate, Flight Operation Officer

Designer of flight plans; the core of Europe's leading private jet company

Cristina joined GlobeAir as a flight operation officer back in 2020 – in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Today, she is a proud member of the #DreamTeam Operations Control Center. Being hired during the pandemic was one of the experiences that has marked both Cristina and the whole skilled human resources team at GlobeAir; however difficult it was, Cristina has shown great adaption capabilities and she is now a beloved flight operation officer.

Cristina stamate emirates
Cristina stamate dreamteam

With a great past in aviation and the will to always get better, Cristina has spoken to GlobeAir about the importance of flexibility, adaptability and focus while being a great example of #PassionIntoProfession for the OPS team at GlobeAir.

1. When did your passion for aviation begin?

A passion discovered very early in life

Cristina is one of GlobeAir's pillar in the Operations department; her international background and family history – being Romanian and having travelled around the world – have played a significant role in her decision to take on a career in aviation.

We have asked her to describe her career path and why it has lead to land a job as a flight operation officer at GlobeAir; eventually focussing on the reasons behind the love for her job and the #DreamTeam.

Cristina has been in the aviation industry since she entered the job market eight years ago. After her graduation, she decided to settle down in Dubai, the capital of travel and tourism. She joined Emirates six years before GlobeAir and worked as a senior airport service for Emirates Dubai.

My passion for aviation started when I was a teenager when I decided that I wanted to travel the world and explore the machine behind the travel industry. And so, I steered my career accordingly. I did not want to be a mere traveller, though; I wanted to learn the rigorous aspects of the industry; what it takes to make it work and eventually deliver incredible travel experiences. There is a lot of sweat which is not always visible, and I wanted to be part of it.

It is quite remarkable for a young woman coming from Europe to decide for such a significant life change from a young age, but Cristina’s will to improve herself and go beyond what was known to her in her country was more decisive. Cristina says she loved that as a ground operator at Emirates, she could learn the technicality and the rigour that apply to the job.

Pilots at GlobeAir
Cristina stamate leisure

I was happy about my Dubai experience but excited about learning a new face of the job; I decided to join the Jeppesen Academy to get my Jeppesen Dispatcher Certification, right at their Denver centre, in the USA.

After some time in Dubai, I felt ready for the next challenge. I travelled alone and paid for the course because I wanted to extend my professional career and become a certified flight operation officer. When you take up such a certification program, you have to expect a very dense program as they compress a lot of information to fit into a two-month curriculum.

What I mostly liked about the Jeppesen Academy was its focus on meteorology. During my time in Denver, I stayed focused on getting through the courses, and I finally managed to graduate and get the Dispatcher Certification. Although in Europe you don't necessarily need a licence to be a dispatcher, I believe that I own one makes me feel more qualified to do my job and now help GlobeAir set up intelligent and cost-effective flight plans.

2. What’s your current role at GlobeAir?

Your daily job: discover a Flight Operations Officer's rewards and challenges

They say that a Flight Operations Officer's duty is the core of any airline, and I can fully confirm this for GlobeAir. You function as a bridge between the pilots, the airports and the customer care team. In very few words, you make sure that flights can happen!

Once the Operations Control Center receives the information from the Customer Care Team – who has just sold a flight – we are ultimately responsible for making sure that there is the availability of aircraft and airports and making sure the passengers have all they need for their flight.

Sometimes I like to compare my job to Google. We are like Google maps for pilots – our task is to find the best way for the GlobeAir and crew to perform the flight for GlobeAir and crew, considering many variables all at once: passengers' wishes, restrictions, weather, crew availability and fuel consumption. We are in the middle between pilots and customers, always striving to achieve a perfect fit.

The dispatcher's daily job

There is a lot of communication going on between our team and airports, of course. We need to know their opening hours and their regulations in detail. Ours is a very regulated job with much documentation to review and send back to the airports’ authorities. We are scanning the passengers’ flight requests and making sure that all is tidy for the flight. There is an endless list of things that a Flight Operations Officer has to consider when scheduling a flight. From arranging time slots, permits, handling services (including parking, fuel, custom and immigration regulations, fire category, wheelchair availability, de-icing services and all additional services our discerning passengers may need on the day of the flight.)

A Flight Operations Officer at GlobeAir will often be in contact with the Maintenance Team and CAMO as well so that we are 100% sure that our private jets are ready to take off. Then comes the coordination with the handling company; that’s when the conversation is about slots, permits, fire cat, customs and immigrations and ATC. Our own job is then to monitor the flight. Flight watching is important to keep alert of every flight status.

A dispatcher's challenges

The quality of service we deliver has to always be top notch. So we are all pushing ourselves to achieve it. Sometimes it may be hard to keep up with the pressure because, personally, I don't want to just do my job; I would like to do it in the best way. I am a perfectionist.

Sometimes you wish you had more time availability; but this is aviation and taking fast and good decisions is also the beauty of it.

3. What do you like about business aviation compared to commercial aviation?

Speed, performance and a lot of daily adrenaline

Private aviation is for people who love challenges. You can never get bored as days are very different from one another. The workload's pace changes; it can be very dynamic, and you must be somebody who cares for details while working. You must keep many variables under control, one being our discerning customers' wishes – which always come first.

Parked GlobeAir private jets
GlobeAir private jet view
Private jet couple

You must be a good communicator and a good listener. Being a Flight Operations Officer is a constant flow of information from the crew to the customer care team. Therefore, you need to be able to filter and pass on all relevant and updated communications.

I am lucky because I am easily adaptable and flexible. When a disruption happens, you have to work as a team without asking questions and without attached feelings. You cannot put yourself first or take remarks personally; eventually, you win if the team wins because you have worked together to make the flight happen.

You stick to private aviation because you can't go without this ever-changing yet very rigorous environment. It is about passion and how fast you can adapt yourself to the circumstances at any given moment.

4. GlobeAir is an international family, do you agree?

What does it mean to be a member of the GlobeAir #DreamTeam

GlobeAir is a dynamic and international company. Flight operation officers at GlobeAir don't have much time to chat with every department as we work in shifts. However, we are very connected to all the other operational ones. As a team on our own, we always support each other. We know what our job means and how challenging it can get. That's the reason why as a dispatcher, you never feel like an island but more as a duo. The key is to sustain your team with positivity during the day as things can change or get abruptly disrupted, and that's when you need to keep your feet on the ground and stay focused.

#DreamTeam family for me means that I have personal contacts with almost everybody in the company. So it feels like I can build connections; get to know your colleagues' personalities and reactions.

GlobeAir DREAMTEAM

How can your job have a positive impact on GlobeAir customers? How do you think you can make a difference?

Good planning and proactiveness are critical. When you face a very hectic situation at work, you have to keep calm and evaluate all the available possibilities instead of reacting fast but with no strategy. You have to think forward and never focus on your department only as one’s decision could set off a series of chain events that may have consequences for the whole company. I offer my knowledge and dedication to make sure that our discerning customers are always satisfied with the GlobeAir experience – we may work "behind the wings" but we play a significant role to fulfil the company’s mission after all. I am a patient listener. I like to think that this is an essential soft skill for the job.

5. How does COVID-19 impact your job today, and how did it make you grow?

The pandemic has been a massive challenge for businesses, especially for aviation – this is no news. At GlobeAir, we are happy to offer our services to those unable to travel as commercial airlines are offering fewer and fewer possibilities and won’t be flexible enough to adapt to the new travel regulations. In contrast, we can provide very efficient day trip options.

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Globeair pilot mask covid19
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Every day, we have to deal with much paperwork coming in for the passengers and the crew. Documents are needed for people to travel freely from one country to the other, and they are continually demanding new travel’s requirements and changing very quickly. It could be that the documents which are needed for a passenger to fly change within two days, and it is our job to be on top of those changes offering smooth solutions for our passengers.

We have to make sure that regular checks happen for the crew and passengers. We have to monitor our crew’s movements around Europe to know about extra covid-19 measures when entering or exiting a specific country.

Airport opening times have changed as well; some small airports have stayed close after the big covid-19 wave in 2020, and the Operations Control Center need to be aware of all this information.

We regularly check the NOTAM’s to ensure that airport facilities are 100% operative to avoid disruptions.

Since the crisis has begun, I felt fortunate to be able to work. Personally, the pandemic was another reminder that in life, we should not take things for granted; what counts are the small things.

6. What does it mean to be a woman who works in private aviation?

I am not a pioneer; GlobeAir has always had women dispatchers. The first woman was Katerina, and the team was ready to accept another female figure. Team members do not see me as different, and actually, sometimes women can be more focused and tidy in our job.

By nature, we tend to work slightly differently, so I never feel underestimated but equal to my men colleagues. If my performance had to be lower, some remarks could be, but the issue has nothing to do with gender. I think that the world has evolved a lot. We are the same.

Patricia lazaro first officer
Grainne o keefe first officer
Commander emilie colignon

7. The future of aviation is?

The future of aviation will soon be bright again, and the sky will once again be busy – hopefully with aviation companies who care a bit more about the environment. I still believe in the people behind aviation and inside the cockpit; although there are many rumours around it, I still hope that people will still operate flights and that we won’t go fully automated.

Cristina's Bio

Cristina was born in Romania, and she is travelled the world. She is living in Linz, Austria since 2020 while part of her close friends are still in Dubai. She defines herself as an aviation specialist and a calm and rational #DreamTeam member.

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