FIVE QUESTIONS WITH MARGO BAILEY OF PRATT & WHITNEY FOR THE AVIATION COALITION
Who are the Aviation Coalition?
The coalition came together as Pratt & Whitney, sister company Collins Aerospace, SMBC Aviation Capital, and AerCap. Pratt & Whitney makes engines, Collins Aerospace makes systems for airplanes, SMBC Aviation Capital lease commercial jet aircraft to airlines and AerCap lease aircraft, engines and helicopters to airlines and private operators. App in the Air, an online travel assistant, recently joined. The coalition came about because the aviation industry has been so impacted by the pandemic. We as an industry saw how important it is to treat the world as a collective human community.
In spring/summer 2021, vaccines were becoming available, and the international community was focused on getting shots out to people in emerging economies. The coalition was born out of a desire to support the COVAX AMC (Advance Market Commitment), alongside governments and other private sector partners. Each coalition member has brought with them a funding commitment of up to $100,000 to COVAX.
We as an industry saw how important it is to treat the world as a collective human community.
How did the partners come together during the pandemic?
Pratt & Whitney reached out to the other Coalition partners and customers, to see who was interested in working together. The response was very positive: we all realised that we needed to offer support during the pandemic, and that more could be done together than apart.
There was a real sense of urgency not only from the pandemic itself, but also because an anonymous donor had committed to match any private sector donations to COVAX AMC. Big companies can move quite slowly at times, but the way we came together so quickly was unprecedented – especially as some partners are competitors in the industry. We welcome more aviation partners to join the coalition’s efforts.
Big companies can move quite slowly at times, but the way we came together so quickly was unprecedented – especially as some partners are competitors in the industry.
Why is it important for the aviation industry to come together to support the public sector?
It’s critical. We believe in public and private sector support for non-profit, collective action – what this coalition was created for. The aviation industry’s customers and suppliers are all over the world. We depend on each other; we need to make sure we’re all protected if we are going to move forward. And if we break out of silos, we can do so much more.
The public sector has a lot to offer in terms of expertise, resources, and support, while the private sector has its own core competencies that we can leverage. We can sometimes move more quickly than the public sector too, in making things happen. It was imperative for us to take action during the pandemic. We focused on supporting COVAX AMC because it is the biggest programme getting vaccines to low- and middle-income countries at an affordable price, while using infrastructure that those countries have available.
It was imperative for us to take action during the pandemic.
The partners also offered their services in other ways – getting oxygen tanks donated into India during their first wave; 3D printing masks and other PPE - but we wanted to put our funds towards tackling the root cause of the problem, too.
To combat the pandemic, all nations need equitable access to the safe vaccines that have been developed, to help protect against serious illness and unnecessary death, so that we can begin to end the pandemic.
What are the goals of the coalition, both now and long term?
Our original goal was to get five partners on board, which we have now achieved. Ultimately, we want to bring together as many aviation partners as possible to join and make that $100,000 commitment to COVAX. We don’t yet know what the future will be beyond the pandemic but now that we've built this coalition we can work together and do more than we could individually.
We don’t yet know what the future will be beyond the pandemic but now that we've built this coalition we can work together and do more than we could individually.
What were the biggest lessons learned from developing the coalition?
The biggest lesson we learned was to just ask. We all share the value of safety, and COVAX AMC is a force multiplier for our individual contributions.