Linda Blachly for Aviation Week
Acro Aircraft Seating CEO Neil Cairns joined the company March 9, just as the world was bracing for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of a rapidly changing industry, Acro is working to identify cost-effective and sustainable changes to seating design and development.
You became Acro CEO in March, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. How have you managed the crisis on a company level?
I am new to the company but certainly not to the sector so, when I arrived at Acro, I was able to hit the ground running. I found myself working with proactive, highly professional management and engineering teams and with a super, highly motivated workforce, all of which made for a seamless transition. My move came in testing times but, as I remind myself these days, “a smooth sea never made a good sailor.”
Aviation is invariably at the sharp end of downturns so, as a sector, we have learned to “expect the unexpected.” In common with other leading players, Acro has embedded contingency and resilience planning across its business operation, although few would have predicted the global impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
That strategic planning is now supporting our business continuity. Plus, the company is well-managed—flexible, agile and creative. We benefit from having a parent company, which is able and prepared not only to support us through the current trough, but also to resource further investment in innovation—backing which encourages us to be daring, and to take the bold, creative measures needed to make meaningful post-COVID change.
Read Neil Cairn’s full interview here: