For Atlas Air Flight Watch Coordinator Joshua Osei, there is no “typical day” on the job—but that’s exactly what he loves about coming to work each day. An Atlas Air Flight Watcher for over two years now, Joshua is responsible for tracking the operating flights for approximately 30 aircraft. During each 12-hour shift, he ensures that before departure and upon arrival, transportation and hotel reservations for our pilots and flight attendants are reconfirmed and updated as needed. Joshua and his colleagues in Operations strive to ensure our pilots are able to focus on resting between flights. As a Flight Watcher, Joshua is also a helpful resource for crew members to contact if they require additional support.
At the end of his 12-hour shift, the next shift arrives, and Joshua engages in a shift briefing to discuss what has gone on over the last 12 hours, current situations unfolding, and upcoming flights that may need special attention. “The daytime shift and the nighttime shift work together seamlessly to ensure success,” he says.
Joshua compares his job to a football player walking out into the field. “You are excited, and each day is filled with different challenges, every day I learn something new and have gained so much knowledge about aviation from speaking to our Flight Crews.”
“I have had the opportunity to travel to Portland and see the day to day operations in the field firsthand,” he says. “I’ve been able to meet the crew members, station representatives, and hotel and transportation vendors who I am speaking to on a daily basis. Going into the field gives me a helpful view of the impact of my work on our operations. This is just one of the ways my Manager and the Company have created a work environment where I feel empowered to do my best every day,” Joshua concluded.
Both the original Charlie’s Angels series and its reboots (two!) in the movie theaters celebrated a sisterhood working to right the wrongs in the world. At Atlas, we have our own “Angels” – trailblazers in their own right – who are making significant contributions to keeping our planes in the air.
Pam Flores, Aircraft Maintenance Planner shared the story behind the name, “Three of us were standing at our manager’s desk, when another colleague walked by and said, ‘Look it’s Charlie’s Angels.” I quickly responded, ‘more like Atlas’ Angels.’ And the name stuck.”
While Pam recalls being intrigued by aviation for as long as she can remember, she instead chose to pursue a career in retail, because she felt it was best for her family. After 11 years, she decided it was time for a career change, one that would better align with her interests.
It was a pivotal moment for Pam, but thanks to the encouragement of a former colleague who also transitioned from retail to Atlas, she applied to the company and was offered a position in the Maintenance Planning department. At the time, she was one of two women in the department at headquarters.
“I saw in Atlas an opportunity to shine professionally. And over the past one and a half years I have been here, I love how much the company has expanded,” Pam said. “The more we expand, the more opportunities are created for more people.”
Senior Aircraft Maintenance Planner Erika Barcenes was also interested in aviation as a child and has chased her dream ever since.
“I went to school with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, but I thought it was impossible because everyone told me that it was a man’s job,” explained Erika. “I was stubborn though, and I followed the paths of my idols, Jacqueline Cochran and Amelia Earhart, to eventually earn my commercial pilot’s certificate.”
While health challenges temporarily sidelined Erika’s goal of becoming an airline pilot, she continued to follow her dream of working in aviation. It wasn’t until she spoke with a friend working at Atlas that she started to realize just how many different roles aviation comprises.
“My journey with Atlas started in Aircraft Records. I subsequently became interested in maintenance planning and I transferred to the department and was promoted to Senior Aircraft Maintenance Planner. Professionally, it has been very satisfying.”
Like Erika, both Bunni Baltazar, Aircraft Maintenance Planner, and Oniris Valerio, Maintenance Workload Planner have found their roles rewarding as important underpinnings supporting the main operation.
“Maintenance planning ensures our aircrafts get the necessary work done to continue to fly safely and without interrupting our customers’ scheduled flights, which are critical to our company’s success,” said Bunni.
Workload planning, according to Oniris who is the only woman in her department, differs from maintenance planning by being a part of Maintenance Control (MCC).
“We’re more of a 24-hour operation, and work on critical items that need to be fixed on the plane to avoid grounding the planes and delays.”
Christina Valente is equally focused on how performance might be impacted as well as what can be done about it. As a Reliability/CASS Analyst, she works with numbers and organizes data to ensure the highest level of safety and reliability.
“The results of our data analysis help to guide and direct many operations; we collaborate with other departments to make sure that as an airline, we are on the right path to the best and safest operation. It’s a team effort, and the idea of using my skills to be a part of this team is an opportunity in aviation I am very grateful to have discovered.”
Collaborating and communicating across departments is how the Atlas Angels found each other, but similar ambitions for the future is what has kept them together.
“We support each other and share information regarding aviation courses and certifications that can increase our opportunity for career advancement,” said Pam. “One of our goals is to get to the Women in Aviation Conference in March – for us and for Atlas. We want to network with other women in the industry while serving as ambassadors of Atlas and raising awareness of this great company.”