Fast 5: Changes To Signature Operations Helps Workforce Retention

Credit: Signature Aviation

 Marty Kretchman, Signature’s SVP operations planning, talks about operational stability, sustainability and workforce retention methods.
1.    What’s your outlook for 2023? Are you expecting any changes or shifts in trends?
We’re monitoring the impact of macroeconomic factors closely. Industry consensus indicates that the upcoming year could see further stabilization in demand.  We saw some of that throughout the industry in the second half of 2022 and broadly expect it to continue into the first half of 2023.

Despite being off the peak of the wave created by pent-up demand in late 2021, we’re still in a strong position relative to 2019 and prior years. Customers, including new entrants, are continuing to find tremendous value in general aviation as a reliable, safe and efficient form of transportation, and I believe that broader trend is here to stay. 
2.    What do you predict the biggest changes in 2023 will be, compared to 2022?
Increased focus on operational sustainability is likely to be an accelerating trend in 2023 and beyond, and at Signature, we’ve been actively working to lead the industry charge toward net zero. We’re taking aggressive action to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions from our operations, and our leadership in providing the largest and most consistent supplies of sustainable aviation fuel to general aviation is well documented, including now offering permanent supply at all of our California locations. 
3.    Are customers actively seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint via your FBO operation? Are customers asking for SAF or book-and-claim systems? 
Customers are definitely seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint by partnering with Signature. As they continue to become more informed on the actual full lifecycle carbon intensity of the various SAF offerings, programs like our book-and-claim offering have become more increasingly attractive because there’s no requirement to utilize carbon-emitting methods to transport fuel long distances. Instead, it allows the SAF to be delivered into the supply chain close to the source while the credit is claimed elsewhere.  
4.    In 2023, do you plan to make any changes to ramp space management?
As aircraft become larger and operational volumes grow, we’ve put increased emphasis on our ability to safely optimize our ramp and hangar spaces, starting with our most physically constrained markets. The ability to efficiently move and store our customers’ aircraft is critical to our ability to meet the growing demand in our industry. At Signature, we’re working hard to innovate and improve through updated processes, technology and innovative training that’s never been deployed in our space. 
5.    How do you plan on retaining staff in 2023, during the workforce shortage?
We are uniquely positioned as the world’s largest network of private aviation terminals to offer workforce opportunities that reach far and wide. The ability to grow and learn in an organization with a global network is also a major benefit for aspiring team members. 
We also continue to invest heavily in training and development programs to the benefit of our team and ultimately our customers, led by our new Chief People Office Amy Alexy. And of course, we have been actively making targeted increases to wages and expanding benefits to ensure our core offering is competitive in the marketplace. Flexibility in scheduling and time off is a deciding factor for many in today’s market, so we’re increasingly creative with our programs to meet those expectations and stay ahead of our workforce competition.  
 Lastly, we’re finding more and more current and potential team members who care about working for a responsible, innovative company. That’s where the work we’re doing to meet our customer and airport needs on sustainability and community involvement serves as a team recruiting and retention tool as well.  Our team is at the center of the experiences we create for our customers thousands of times each day, and therefore attracting, retaining and developing our people will always be at the core of our success in the years to come.

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.