Redefining the Standard
In order to focus on best safety practices and standards of excellence that exceed governmental regulations and guidelines, Jet Linx suspended all retail flight operations to enable all of its team members (in all 18 Base locations and the National Operations Center (NOC)) to collaborate and reinforce its unwavering pledge to deliver the highest standard of safety in the world.
The day long Safety Summit took place on the stage of the auditorium at the NOC, and was livestreamed to each Base location. Those in the audience and watching the livestream were able to participate in live polling and submit questions and feedback throughout the event, making for an interactive and engaging learning experience.
Jet Linx is currently an International Business Aviation Council (IS-BAO) Stage 3 registered operator and has earned ARGUS Platinum and Wyvern Wingman safety ratings. These three accomplishments are earned by less than one percent of all aircraft operators in the world, already placing Jet Linx in rare air within the industry. However, Jet Linx remains the only air carrier in the United States to implement a Safety Summit in which fleet operations are put on hold in order to continue to develop and enhance the company’s safety culture.
Newly appointed Jet Linx Director of Safety and Security, Sheryl Clarke, gave a welcome address where she spoke about the maturation of the Jet Linx safety culture. Clarke joins Jet Linx from United Airlines, where she was Managing Director of Airport Operations Safety and Compliance, managing all safety efforts for the 337 airports served by the airline.
In her presentation, Clarke explained that safety is the principle that informs the core values of the company, and that a heightened focus on change management will ensure smooth and continued growth. “If we don’t manage change, our safety culture becomes reactive and we will continue to firefight the same problems every day.” She continued, “If we think of safety as a principle, it will inform all five of the core values that guide us every day.”
Jamie Walker, President and CEO of Jet Linx, also highlighted the importance of developing the safety culture. “As a leader in the industry, it is our responsibility to hold ourselves accountable and further the highest safety standards. We are proud to invest considerable time, energy and financial resources in order to deliver our aircraft owners and Jet Card members with the confidence that they are flying with the industry’s best.” Walker continued, “We cannot sit on the sideline and watch safety happen. It requires active participation. If we operate safely, our growth will be unlimited.”
Both Clarke and Walker recognized that during times of great growth for any company, operational challenges may arise – and both were resolute that events like the annual Summit ensure that safety for both clients and team members remains in the spotlight.
“Safety is not something that just happens. As we grow, we will have to actively manage ourselves and others to continue to improve,” Clarke stated. “It will take hard work, but there’s no other alternative. We will continually improve or we will not exist as an organization. It’s as simple as that.”
Jet Linx also had the honor of hosting Jim Hall, a former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB, 1993 to 2001). Hall has led many different initiatives in his time with the NTSB and helped author many important recommendations, and is one of the most respected and wellknown safety experts in the world. “Safety starts at the top,” he noted in his keynote address, “and that is why I am here today.”
Hall has seen firsthand the aftermath of poor adherence to safety systems and what happens in the absence of a true safety culture, both in aviation and in ground transportation. “Even the giants of this industry feel the bite when they fail to pay attention to safety.” Hall further explained that safety is very simple. “Safety systems are easy to follow. It really just requires you to do your job and avoid the temptation to cut corners,” he said. “For Jet Linx to reach out and encourage the prioritization of passenger and employee safety at the highest level in their effort to improve operations across this industry is impressive.”
After former Chairman Hall gave his address, Don Chupp of Fireside Partners delivered a second keynote for the day. Fireside Partners develops training programs and response exercises for corporate and business aviation organizations, and has been a Jet Linx partner for many years. Chupp was formerly the Program Director for the NTSB Academy, serving under Chairman Hall for a time. He attended the Safety Summit for the second consecutive year to share what he, as a working partner of the company, has witnessed in the evolution of the Jet Linx safety culture.
Chupp’s lively address focused on the tendency for organizations to look for answers at accident sites, instead of finding the root cause. “The site of an accident is usually the symptom of a much larger, organizational problem,” Chupp noted. He also reminded everyone in the audience that the number one service that Jet Linx provides to clients is safety. “If you consider that what you provide as a service is safety, it will inform your decision making process on a daily basis.”
Clarke closed the Summit by reviewing suggestions that were made by team members, and reinforcing the idea that safety does not just happen – as the wall on the NOC operations pit reads, we make it happen. She acknowledged that the growth occurring at the company will present challenges in maintaining a standard of excellence – challenges events like the annual Safety Summit ensure the team stands ready to overcome. “Safety is not easy, but there is no other alternative. We have a team willing to continuously improve.”