Established 95 years ago, Aero Club Milano is one of the oldest aviation organisations in Italy. Antonio Giuffrida, the aeroclub’s president, shares his thoughts on the value of strong partnerships and why life without competition doesn't make any sense.
“I became president of Aero Club Milano in 2016, having just achieved my private pilot licence (PPL) in 2015,” says Antonio Giuffrida. He explains that since it was established almost 100 years ago, the aero club has been training both amateur and professional pilots.
Although relatively new to the world of aviation, flying has become a firm hobby for Antonio who juggles his role as president with being a lawyer. “I own a boutique law firm in Milan and usually spend my day between the court-house and my offices. I’m fortunate that I can fit my role as the aeroclub’s president around my working day,” he says.
Originally established at Milan Linate, the flying club is now based out of Bresso Airport in Italy’s Lombardy region and has around 300 members and 22 aircraft in its fleet – currently the biggest aero club fleet in Italy.
“The global pandemic has presented its fair share of challenges, but we are now stronger than ever and in a good position especially with the aviation industry now in a confirmed recovery period. I am incredibly proud of both those that work for the aeroclub and our members and how they’ve worked through the pandemic to support each other and our facility.”
In addition to pilot training, Aero Club Milano offers aerobatic and air rally training as well as hosting competitions. “A life without competition makes no sense,” Antonio enthuses. “We have a strong team of aerobatic and rally pilots who fly by the motto of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games:
“The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight. The essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”
It’s a message that Antonio is keen to impart on young people looking to achieve their aspirations of becoming an aerobatic or air rally pilot. “A pilot never stops learning. If you practice the sport, there is always the opportunity to learn and to become a better pilot.”
And as Aero Club Milano looks to rebuild its aviation activities following the global pandemic, Antonio is confident for what lies ahead. Referencing the Italian physicist, philosopher and astronomer Galileo Galilei, he underlines that behind every problem lies an opportunity. “We must be ready to seize that opportunity, but I am confident in the industry’s recovery, that we will overcome COVID-19 and new opportunities will arise including the drive to focus on building a cleaner, greener industry.”
He adds that the pandemic has also illustrated the value of strong working relationships.
“Air bp is one of, if not our best partner,” he notes. “We have always valued the supply of safe, reliable fuelling, but our collaboration extends well beyond a fuel supply. Thanks to Air bp, we have been able to rely on a consistent supply partner while overcoming financial difficulties. As a supplier Air bp has offered constant support and I will always be grateful for their professionalism and commitment to us as a customer.
As for what else the future holds? “We have a surprise coming up to mark our 95th anniversary later this year. It’s too early to disclose any details yet, but we will be sharing how we’re celebrating this milestone soon, so stay tuned.”
Other than celebrating the aeroclub’s rather impressive birthday, Antonio concludes his focus now is to continue building and growing the aeroclub. “We want to keep expanding our membership reach and building that network of pilots and enthusiasts. The aero club is really about friends sharing their passion for flying, learning from one another and achieving their dreams. That’s something we’ll never lose sight of.”
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