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‘I’m an AME Contracted Overseas: Lockdown in a Foreign Country’

As a contractor with Dviation’s recruitment unit, D’Agency, for more than four years, I want to share my experience during this pandemic that has hit our beloved aviation industry globally. I am Sonny Raymundo from the Philippines, and here is my story.

Sonny (right) and Joselito. 

Currently, I am assigned here in Vientiane, Laos, to provide Aircraft Maintenance to the flag carrier, Lao Airlines. With me is Joselito Oropesa, a fellow citizen of the Philippines, and also a part of the Dviation team. Together, we assist Lao Airlines as Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, handling their A320 fleet. We also provide support for the airline’s Maintenance Control Center. Since getting deployed here in mid-2019, it was all smooth sailing – until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

As the aviation industry braced for this pandemic, the government of Laos declared a lockdown on 30 March 2020. All international and domestic flights were cancelled, and all borders were closed. Inter-city travel was banned and only essential workers were allowed to go outside of their houses for work. Being part of a government-run airline, I was tasked to report to work and continued to perform aircraft maintenance, despite the lockdown situation. Social distancing, good hygiene and personal protective equipment were (and still are) the safety nets that I rely on.

On one occasion, while on my way to work, I passed through a police security checkpoint. There, I was stopped and questioned as to where I was going amidst the lockdown. Non-aviation folk might not understand that, even if an aircraft is on-ground, there is still maintenance work to be done. So, after further explanation about my responsibilities with the on-ground aircraft, the police officers thankfully let me through with a compassionate look on their faces.

One thing that has affected me during this pandemic and lockdown is the longing to go back to my home country. Even I wanted to, it is impossible to fly back because there are simply no international flights. Social media is the only way I can keep in touch with my family, and I am grateful for that. Even though I am not physically with them, knowing that they are safe is my top priority.

Despite the current situation, both Joselito and I have taken measures to stay safe and healthy, so that we are capable of carrying out our job responsibilities. As of 3 May 2020, the lockdown has been partially lifted. Inter-city travel is now allowed, and some business establishments are starting to resume operations. Slowly but surely, the domestic aviation market is also taking its pace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has, no doubt, crippled global economy. Everybody is eager to turn the page on this situation as soon as possible. The enormous magnitude of its effects is inevitable but under current circumstances, I am hoping that we can all bounce back and propel forward.

Take care, and stay safe!

 

Mr. Sonny Raymundo

 

 

Dviation is the leading aviation solutions provider in the ASEAN region, based in Malaysia. The Group consists of 5 business units: aviation training, recruitment, aircraft maintenance, consultancy and FTM/CAMO. To find out how you, too, can join the Dviation team, visit https://www.dviation.com/recruitment.

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