Low-Cost & Regional Airline Business – Career Path

Phil Randell, CEO of wheel and brake MRO World Aero discusses his long career in aviation and his passion for the industry.

Download a PDF of the article from the Winter 2020 issue of LCRAB

Tell us how you got to be where you are today?
Aviation has been my obsession since childhood; from model aeroplanes and airshows to my first flying lesson aged 11. I have been in aviation maintenance since leaving school, first in general aviation and then completing a four-year airframe & engine apprenticeship with the UK Ministry of Defence.

Following work on C130s and other large military types, I became an EASA-licensed aircraft engineer on commercial and corporate aircraft. In 1999, I established World Aero to offer maintenance support services to a wide range of customers, which led to the formation of our component MRO facility in 2008. Outside of aviation maintenance, I fly regularly and enjoy aerobatics.

What is the most interesting part of your job?
Meeting good people, without a doubt. Be it an inexperienced new employee or a seasoned expert at a trade show, it’s definitely the people that make aviation such a wonderful industry to be a part of. I also love to travel; the very nature of our business enables that to happen.

And the bit you like least?
Occasionally, like every business, we have unhappy customers. The way I deal with it is to draw a breath, pick up the phone and communicate. More often than not, I find this approach tends to fix things and means less pain long-term but the early dialogue isn’t my favourite moment.

What would be your alternative career?
A medical professional; I am very much about diagnosing systems and correcting problems. Whilst aircraft are a challenge, the human body would be next level!

Talk us through your daily routine
Right now, I’m using Covid as a good reason to look after myself physically and mentally. Four days a week I start my day with an intense workout and a run before I meet my team for a daily brief. I believe I am the custodian of World Aero; with our great team, my responsibility is to ensure they have what they need to function in line with our strategy. We’re a technical business so I spend a lot of time on the engineering side, answering queries and developing internal systems. But I’m equally involved in developing sales, marketing, purchasing, accounts and customer service. This business started with just me, so I’m involved from the ground up!

What is your favourite destination?
Cape Town, South Africa for its diverse and beautiful scenery, entertainment, food and people. It offers stunning weather during the dark and cold months at home in the UK, yet only takes a night’s sleep on a flight to magic yourself there.

How do you see the aviation market developing?
Just the same as I did a year ago before Covid. People will always want and need to travel and yes, Covid will be a blip. However, I see continual expansion globally, especially as developing nations grasp the opportunities that the international community offers.