How our Line Station Duty Manager Marc DeGeneffe turned his life-long passion into a career
Hi Marc! Let’s kick things off. How long have you been in the aviation industry & what was your role progression to where you are now?
I began my career in 1979, studying at the Royal Airforce School to become an Aircraft Engineer at 15 years old. After a few years in the Belgian Airforce, I left to explore new opportunities and returned to study at the Royal Airforce School for 3 years to become an NCO. However, in 1986 I returned to the force as an A/P mechanic on SIAI Marchetti.
During my time at Marchetti, I was responsible for the creation of the NDT section, and also became an A/P instructor as well as Team Leader.
I left the Belgian Airforce in 1998 to join EAT BRU, starting as a mechanic on Convair and B727. I completed my first training as an engineer on B727, A300 classic and B757.
In 2006, I became one of the first engineers in LEJ, and during my time there I also helped with the training of new engineers. In 2008, I was given the opportunity to become an active member during the first-night operation in LEJ.
Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as a B1 engineer for TNT in Belgium, on BAE 146 and B737. In 2012 I became Deputy Maintenance Manager and Technical Office Manager for AgustaWestland Helicopter in Liege.
After two years in Liège, when my kids were old enough and they didn’t need me at home anymore and with my wife’s approval, I decided to go work abroad as a contractor. This had been a dream of mine for a long time. I started with a short contract as a B1 engineer on B757 for Heavy Maintenance in France, continued by a second short contract with Bostonair in Frankfurt. I then came back to LEJ after an almost 5-year break whilst I took conversion training from B757 to B767.
When I left LEJ in 2010, I never expected to be back here one day. I started as a B1 engineer on B757, followed by training on A300-600. I then spent 2018 until 2019 at the Helsinki outstation.
Unfortunately, I had to receive some heavy surgery on my both knees, therefore I came back to LEJ as a Dayshift Supervisor until July 2021. I then became a Duty Manager for Bostonair.
Tell us a little bit more about your role.
My role as Duty Manager is a quite new position within Bostonair. We are working two weeks ‘on’ and two weeks ‘off’, like most of Bostonair’s engineers.
As part of our role, we support all of our clients in LEJ by providing the required level of manpower, tools and line maintenance service. Ensuring everything is in working order is a huge task; we must be sure that our engineers have received all the training and relevant data they require, that essential equipment and tools are available etc… To be honest, the hardest part of the job is preparing for the worst whilst expecting the best. Experience teaches us that nothing is as simple as first expected.
Why did you want to work with Bostonair?
To be one hundred per cent honest, I discovered Bostonair by accident! When finishing my contract with EAT BRU in 2010, I never expected to be back in LEJ. When my kids were old enough, I decided to pursue my original dream and began looking for work abroad.
The best option was provided by Bostonair, as their shift pattern offered the possibility to work two weeks abroad and then have two weeks back home with my family.
Why did you choose a career in the aviation industry?
Working in the aviation industry has been my dream for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I played with small aircrafts, built lots of plastic models, drew so many of them, read so many cartoons, books etc… One of my favourite places to be was the airport, close to where I was born in Africa – just to watch the aircraft arriving or departing.
I was dreaming about travelling, discovering new places. Originally, I wanted to become a pilot, but I found I prefer to work on aeroplanes instead. Learning how they fly, how they are made and how to maintain them. Honestly, I cannot explain it.
What have you enjoyed most about working in the industry & working with Bostonair?
Bostonair is a diverse company, employing people from everywhere around the world. I really appreciate that. I was born in Africa and love travelling to meet different people, different cultures. Bostonair is still growing and offers lots of new opportunities. Travelling and learning, that’s exactly what I love about my job with Bostonair.
What do you find the most challenging about your role?
In my new position, we focus a lot on human and personal behaviours, especially now due to the increase in traffic and workload. The number of people working is increasing quickly and therefore the difference in ways of working changes as well. I am always discovering how different we all are in the ways we work and, more simply, the way we live our lives.
Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone looking to get involved in the aviation industry?
You don’t have to like aeroplanes to do this job but you need to love aviation. You can’t do it for a long time if you are not passionate about it. If you’re looking to get into the industry just for the money, this is definitely not the job for you. It is much more than that.
What was it like working in the aviation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and now as we come back out the other side?
COVID has been really challenging for all of us. It was a very difficult period. We are slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re also mindful of the year and a half that everyone has just had and we try to look after our teams as best as we can.