A Quick Word With ……. Bristow Nigeria’s James Daniel

In this interview, Bristow Manager of Fixed-Wing Services James Daniel talks about his role in Nigeria's fixed-wing service, what prepared him for this responsibility, and the greatest lesson he learned from a colleague.

Talk about your role at Bristow and what are you currently working on?

I currently manage the fixed-wing operations for the Africa Region, which includes creating and assisting the Business Development team with new opportunities while maintaining oversight of the day-to-day operations. My daily work consists of liaising with the authorities, being the interface between upper management and operational staff, route scheduling, growth and planning, crew development, training and planning, and customer survey development. I also create avenues for crew to express their ideas and implement those ideas into the business.

What is a recent success you're particularly proud of? ?

When I began this role, we had a back-up aircraft; that aircraft is now crewed and operating with a full schedule. We all know that an aircraft only makes money when it's flying, so I consider this a significant success!

What in your background prepared you for this assignment? ?

I have a diploma in business and project management. I have been fortunate to work in a variety of roles within Bristow and also externally. Prior to joining Bristow, I was the head of flight operations for a business jet operator, and I've also run my own IT business. During my time with Bristow, I have functioned as the acting chief pilot fixed wing for a major oil and gas client in Lagos and also as the base manager for a major oil and gas client in Eket.

Are there any upcoming events or initiatives you think everyone should know about? ?

We are in the process of integrating our fixed-wing operation with our rotary operation. The federal government is closing the Abuja airport that is situated in the nation's capital for six weeks; all the embassies in the country are situated in Abuja, and they are very concerned about movement to and from Abuja. Bristow is offering a combined fixed- and rotary-wing solution into an airport near Abuja to support our clients, the embassies and some international carriers who would normally convey their passengers to Abuja as part of their normal daily schedule. This is not something that we have done traditionally, especially in an environment we don't have full control over, so a lot of pre-planning is required.

What was the greatest lesson you learned from a colleague? ?

Having spent approximately 21 years with Bristow on three separate occasions, I have learnt lessons from numerous people over the years, but I think the greatest lesson learned is the importance of humility and honour in labour from a cleaner who is still with the company today.

What question should we have asked you? ?

Why did I get into aviation? I wanted to become an astronaut, and I'm still holding on to that dream.