COVID-19 bought an end to a twenty year career at Qantas for John Bonthorne, but he has successfully moved from the runway to roads as an Operation Control Centre Officer at Transdev Melbourne.
With experience in various operational roles at Qantas including customer service, baggage services, and as a ramp supervisor John has witnessed significant changes in the aviation industry in a very short period saying; “To see the airport go from being a bustling hub to absolutely empty has been incredibly shocking for many of the people who work there.”
John is one of 27 new recruits Transdev has welcomed from the aviation industry to our teams across Australia and New Zealand since March.
He says although leaving his career at Qantas has been a major change for him, there are many similarities between his former and current roles.
“My previous experience at Qantas has given me the ability to follow procedures, as well as having a focus on customers. Like the aviation industry, there is a safety first approach at Transdev and a focus on organisation and planning.”
For John, job satisfaction comes from knowing he is helping passengers get to where they need to go saying, “I like the satisfaction at the end of the day of knowing I have helped in delivering thousands of people safely to their destination whether that is work or to be with family and friends.”
As with any new role there has been a steep learning curve as John builds his knowledge of the mechanics of the buses, the different routes and familiarises himself with the multiple computer systems that help ensure the network operates smoothly.
An intensive period of training has prepared John to take up his role in the Transdev operations control centre. “I spent several weeks on buses meeting the drivers and learning the various bus routes. This has been incredibly beneficial because I now have an understanding of the day to day experience of drivers and it helps me visualise a scenario or location so I can provide the best possible advice to a driver who needs assistance. Effective communication is vital to resolving any unfolding situation safely,” he says.
When not coordinating bus drivers on our network, John can be found coordinating tradespeople on a building site as he builds a new family home for his wife and three daughters.
“I found the building process really rewarding. At the end of my life I will be able to look back on all the things I have done and I know I’ll look back on building a home for my family as a special achievement.”
John is not the only member of his family to face new situations this year. His eldest daughter recently completed a nursing degree and will soon start a new job at the Epworth, while his youngest daughter has been completing her VCE studies remotely for most of this year. John’s wife, a teacher, has also seen change to her usual work.
However, years of experience in operations has taught John a valuable lesson that has helped him through a turbulent year; “Every day is a fresh start” he says with a smile.