Interview with Franki Searle, Interflight’s Planning and Commercial Manager

Interview with Franki Searle, Interflight’s Planning and Commercial Manager

What are your role and responsibilities at Interflight? 

I’m Interflight’s Planning and Commercial Manager and have been here for seven years. I’m responsible for raising work packages for each project, keeping clients updated on progress, procuring parts, producing quotations and obtaining logbook certifications. I also submit repair definitions to suppliers and invoice for completed maintenance work.

I first went into aviation 30 years ago, starting out with Britannia Airways at Gatwick Airport before moving to Biggin Hill, where I worked for several different charter companies before starting at Interflight.

Describe a typical day at Interflight

Every day is different and I enjoy the variety. I arrive at work each morning with a rough plan in mind, but I’m always prepared for it to be derailed by unforeseen issues that need a rapid response, such as sourcing urgent parts to get a stranded aircraft back in service. I thrive on facing a different challenge every day and love my fast-paced working environment.

Do you find it challenging working in a male-dominated industry?

The men I work with have always been supportive and treated me like any other member of the team. It would be great to see more women around the hangar, though.

How can we encourage more women into avitation, and specifically into engineering roles?

There are already plenty of women in supportive roles like mine, but we definitely need more female engineers – I’ve worked with talented women in this field, but not often enough. We need to better promote the many opportunities available to women in aviation and ensure existing female maintenance workers are given the chance to progress further. 

What’s the proudest achievement of your career?

It’s hard to pick just one, but I find it especially rewarding when we get an aircraft back in the air following a big inspection after working hard to meet the client’s budget and deadline. Interflight has a great team and I’m very proud to be part of it.

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