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‘Improvise, adapt, overcome’: Why pilot Adoni Petrandonakis made a career shift during the pandemic

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A professional pilot for nearly two decades, Adoni Petrandonakis has travelled extensively as part of his work and has held various senior training and managerial positions in the aviation industry. 

This was the case until government-imposed travel bans saw air passenger numbers collapse across the world and left the airline industry in limbo with thousands of air crew uncertain about their future. 

“Whilst I have been stood down extensively and have seen changes to some of my duties, I feel extremely fortunate to be working for an airline that’s provided ongoing job security,” Adoni Petrandonakis told The Greek Herald

“A large number of colleagues and friends around the world haven’t flown at all for over a year or have lost their jobs altogether – it’s heartbreaking,” he said as he went on to explain how amid all the uncertainty of the pandemic, he found an opportunity to reshape his career and use his skills in aviation to become a Finance and Mortgage broker with Australian company Crew Financial which specialises in providing home loans and financial services to airline crews and their families.

-Due to the circumstances, you chose an additional career path, this time in finance. How did you manage to overcome the mental load and move on?

There’s an unofficial military saying that resonates with me: “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome”. I have applied this throughout my life, passed it on to my students and to my children. I believe that we have control of our destiny and that we alone have the power to enable self-progress. I had a number of conversations with people in the finance industry and completed the required courses before being offered a position in a very successful team of other pilots who are also engaged in the finance business. 

-How do your skills in aviation help you in finance?

There are a number of qualities that define pilots and have proven to be very advantageous in finance. We bring our professionalism, attention to detail, problem solving skills, the importance of time constraints and keeping things on schedule as well as our enthusiasm and passion for excellence. We’re used to working at all hours of the day and night which proves to be very advantageous when communicating with customers across different time zones.  

-When it comes to home loans and financial services how are the needs of airline crews different to any other consumers? 

Being aircrew with extensive industry understanding, we have first-hand knowledge of the variety of contracts and pay structures (base pay, overtime, allowances, bonuses etc) as well as the challenges faced by crew (being short on time, working unusual hours and being anywhere in the world etc). Over the past 18 months and despite extended stand-down periods, we have been very successful in helping a very large number of airline crew purchase a home or investment property or to gain access to better rates through refinancing.

Our personal service extends to the broader community as well and we have a large customer base from all industries and jobs.

-Would you consider a full-time career in finance in the future or would you prefer aviation? 

Our structure allows for both professions to work well in parallel. I would only ever consider leaving aviation if I were medically unable to continue flying. It’s a passion and I’d do it for free – just don’t tell my boss! 

-What is your message to people, who like you had to adapt and move on?

Keep moving forward, don’t look back and never give up hope. There are countless opportunities out there and all it takes is for you to take that first step. 

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