Spotlight on… Paul Newton, Cargo Aircraft Loadmaster, NAVI Enterprise

CargoForwarder Global’s ‘Spotlight On…’ series highlights a specific function within the air cargo industry every week. There are so many different stakeholders involved in ensuring that cargo flies from A to B safely, efficiently, and on time. However, there is limited awareness of most of these roles among the general public.
In an effort to illustrate the broad spectrum of possible careers, CFG welcomes personal insights from those currently working in air cargo. Paul Newton of NAVI Enterprise, takes us through his main role as Cargo Aircraft Loadmaster, and shares his views advice to those considering the air cargo industry as a career field.

CFG: What is your current function and company? And what are your responsibilities?

Long hours and an ever-changing environment. Image: Paul Newton

PN: My current function within the Aviation Industry is Operating on a freelance basis within my newly established Sole Trader company NAVI Enterprise, serving as a service provider towards Airlines (PAX & CARGO) & supporting business establishments relating to the industry, focusing on both ground & onboard operational coverage requirements on behalf of the customer.

My main operational role is as a Cargo Aircraft Loadmaster, operating and flying onboard the aircraft around its dedicated routes, performing Weight & Balance Calculations, Load Control & Planning, alongside managing global GHA teams under load/offloading sequencing, safe operations & Aircraft Ground Servicing requirements.

Effectively being responsible for the Airframes ground, flight & MX turnaround operations to ensure correct SOP standards are met for longevity OTP KPI Performance Analysis.

As a freelance service provider, I also operate differential ground, aircraft turnaround and management roles globally, as required and agreed via the customers.

CFG: What does a normal day look like for you? (Or is there such a thing?)

PN: As all industry professionals will be aware, regardless of position or sector industry operated within, Aviation provides a minute by minute, ever expanding, ever evolving challenging environment, therefore there is no such thing as a “normal” day when working within the Aviation Industry.

Every day, every operational SOP guideline (great & small) presents new challenges, problem solving matters & instantaneous decision making towards its demands, therefore ensuring operating within the time critical and safety orientated environment keeps you aware, responsive, and adaptive in your work ethic.

In relation to a normal day/routine of rotation, being an Aircraft Loadmaster involves long hours, high detail planning and supervision/management to ensure high levels of safety awareness & customer service are provided to the customers, airlines and GHAs.

All of this accompanied by long flying hours, frequent travel globally and being away from friends & family for long periods of time.

CFG: How long have you been in the air cargo industry, and what brought you to it?

PN: Having always held a passion for Aircraft since a very young age alongside aspiring to be a pilot when in adult years (which never has happened), I entered the Aviation Industry when I hit the legal age of adult years, being 18.

I started working with ramp/baggage operations within the PAX Sector of Aviation, and dedicated myself to operating as efficiently as I can, in and around the aircraft.

Over several years, I completed as much training as I could within PAX operations to understand the industry and demands held by Aircraft Ground Management.

I achieved a high skill set within the role including, ADPs/Operating all ground equipment and performing both pushback and headset operations.

After reviewing my career and researching into a desired pathway, I decided to aim my goals towards being a Cargo Ground/Flying Aircraft Loadmaster.

As then, holding experience of “coverage” requirements involving a few cargo operating airlines within the airport I worked at, I set my goals on entering Cargo full time.

I was then selected and offered employment by such a company who operated within the airport on a large network scale, starting my cargo career in January 2015.

By September 2015, I managed to secure myself the position of Senior Aircraft Loader within the airline and managed ground operations with teams differing between 10-40 personnel at any one time, to ensure SOP and OTP Aircraft Turnaround Management. Within the following year, I progressed my desired pathway with the airline, attending, studying, and qualifying as a Ground Operational Loadmaster for B777 Operations.

After 3 years of completing this role in 2019, I left the airline to further progress my career as a flying Loadmaster with another airline.

I haven’t looked back since…

Since operating as a flying loadmaster, I have also completed a “specialist area role” within outsized cargo & special loads.

I have also qualified on 2 airframes of the queen herself, the B747, 400 & 800 models and have been lucky enough to work with full Freighters, BCF, SPF, P2F & Combi Airframes.

I am now also qualified within Dangerous goods, CAT6 & CAT10 alongside Live Animal Regulations (LAR).

CFG: What do you enjoy most about your job?

PN: I would say the most enjoyable part of my job (having held a passion for aircraft since a young age) is being lucky enough to work with, operate and fly on these amazing machines! I don’t see my role as a “job”, as I thoroughly enjoy the roles I perform, therefore the personal sense of satisfaction and being part of the industry operationally gives me a sense of pride.

As all careers within all industries, Aviation has its upsides and downsides, but being an adaptive, proactive, reactive and passionate person for the industry, I will always stick by saying that “if you work within an area of an interest, no day will feel like work.”

CFG: Where do you see the greatest challenges in our industry?

PN: I think the industry in its entirety holds many challenges within each sector of Aviation.

A challenging area of interest to myself, however, is “post covid operational volumes & Operator Sustainability”.

We all are aware that during the “Covid” Pandemic, the industry saw a huge spike within demand, creating a high number of export/import requirements by air commercially on a global scale. Although within a restricted economic and poor living environment at the time, due to very unfortunate events occurring globally, this was great for all existing cargo airlines, operators, upcoming new airlines & industry support companies to either boost their operational presence, kick-start their operational presence or branch their existing business model with the inclusion of Cargo Operations,

However, it is very interesting to me as to why economic operational presence has reduced dramatically since the return to normal living conditions around the world, with the demand dipping quite low to the current day within the market requirements & needs.

I feel very privileged to still be working within the position I am in, as the role over the last couple of years has either become redundant for some airline operators or recruitment for such a role is few and far between.

I believe on a global scale, this needs to be rectified and addressed via economical support, value and financial investments alongside agreements between political parties of country relations.

This would then boost the global economy, partly rectifying the current low demand of global trade.

CFG: What advice would you give to people looking to get into the air cargo industry? Any particular training they should aim for?

PN: On a grounded starter basis, I would advise person/s wanting to enter the cargo industry sector to be both adaptable and proactive in their career approach. Learn as much as possible, invest yourself into areas of the industry that you might not think are beneficial to you, as well as research the industry market, understanding and keeping up with the constant changes and developments throughout the industry.

Always follow your passions or areas of interest, set yourself goals and never give up! There will be a lot of brick walls in the way of development, however all can be overcome with a dedicated approach to succeed.

Course-wise within Cargo: Dangerous goods courses are always the way forward, to upskill and progress yourself within areas of the industry.

Skill-set-wise operationally: put yourself forward for all training offered to you.

CFG: If the air cargo industry were a film/book, what would its title be?

PN: I’ve never really thought about a book in relation to the industry of Cargo… However, I have often thought about an autobiography style read from a career point of view.

I, myself, have suffered many low points, brick walls, career/personal challenges over the span of work life. Although I am proud of where I have taken myself to this point, it has been a long, hard and challenging road to navigate.

So, on the subject of a book, I would make it in the form of a career perspective and call it: “The Rise, Fall & Spiral of an LM”

Thank you for showing us your part of the industry, Paul.If you would like to share your personal air cargo story with our CargoForwarder Global readers, feel free to send your answers to the above questions to cargoforwarderglobal@kopfpilot.at We look forward to shining a spotlight on your job area, views, and experiences.

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