Brendan Noonan, an aviation industry veteran in Learning and Development, decided that he wanted to work in aviation at just 16 years old. At that time, Brendan’s very first trip to the airport left a big impression on him – ‘I was absolutely blown away with this business called aviation’. The fascination with the industry led Noonan to build up his career from an entry-level position to the senior vice-president role of one of the best airlines in the world. He humbly attributes his incredible career trajectory to the opportunities that the aviation industry produces, saying ‘if you work hard, you’d be amazed what you can achieve’.
The instructor has been part of numerous different airlines but working with Emirates Airline Group has been the most rewarding. Noonan joined Emirates when the company had only 14 airplanes and when he left the airline had 260. Being part of building a new airline was without a doubt challenging but growing together with the company was also a priceless experience. According to Brendan, his and his team’s can-do, positive attitude led to the airline’s success. They were able to take on everything, ‘no matter how tough a challenge’.
Talking about the most memorable experiences of his career, the instructor mentions getting invited to fly in a completely new Airbus A380. This opportunity stuck with him because he was one of the first people to fly and assess the aircraft. On the other hand, there have been some impactful negative experiences as well. Flying with his colleagues to Kabul in Afghanistan was scary and challenging, but Noonan felt it was worth the risk, seeing the need for airport operations there.
Brendan, having traveled all over the world, has a few favorite airports, for instance, ones in Singapore, Dubai and Seoul are fascinating to him. One place that Brendan feels personally intrigued by the most, is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The place was built on an incredibly large piece of land in anticipation for future growth. For Brendan this is the best planning he’s ever seen.
Although as the instructor himself says he ‘never planned to go into that role’, he is now a renowned teacher of aviation. Brendan decided to try out a teacher’s role after attending a course in which he was randomly picked to talk about his profession. His speech was so compelling and amusing that the course instructor encouraged him to start a career in training. Even though the job seemed daunting at first, he now feels that it is a very special role. For Brendan, helping people develop their skills so that they would have successful careers is very rewarding.
As many other instructors, Noonan recently had to adapt to virtual teaching. The instructor sees that e-learning emerged from necessity. According to Brendan ‘the reality is that most organizations have difficulty releasing staff for training programs in classrooms <…> but a great alternative for that is e-learning.’ Listen to Brendan Noonan discussing his own virtual course and other essential aviation topics in our Expert Talk available for everyone.
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