Aircraft are not made to stand still. And the same goes for staff, who have missed their jobs dearly. On Monday, Brussels Airlines will finally hit the skies again with 11 flights (Rome FCO x2, Madrid, Berlin TXL, Marseille, Budapest, Copenhagen, Prague, Lisbon x2, Vienna). But restarting flight operations after 12 weeks of hibernation doesn’t happen overnight. Getting an aircraft out of parking mode and making it airworthy again takes about as much time as parking it. Getting flying staff back up in the air is also something that isn’t taken lightly.
In normal circumstances, a commercial pilot who flies on a regular basis goes through a strict training regime every 6 months, to keep up with all procedures. Now that pilots have not been in a cockpit for 3 months and do not meet the mandatory “3 landings in 90 days” standard, the airline needs to retrain them to make sure they are ready to get back in the cockpit. A simulator test, as well as a theoretical exam and Crew Resource Management training, help get them ready for 15 June.
Also cabin crew get a refresher course and are trained to apply the new procedures and measures that have been put in place.
As for the birds, they are pretty high maintenance, even when they have been on the ground for a long period. Remember how the storage of an aircraft takes about 400 man-hours and they still require regular checks and maintenance? Well, unpacking an aircraft and making it airworthy again takes about 200 man-hours, too. From testing all computer systems, getting the cabin ready, to unwrapping the landing gear and engines, nothing is left to chance in aviation.
This series of photos and videos show the unpacking of our aircraft, as well as the training of our pilots.