Today we introduce Claudio Scordato, one of the Albastar’s pilot
Hi Claudio, yours is a story that starts in your wonderful island, Sicily, which is also where the project to create Albastar started. That is a nice coincidence… How did you first become interested in flying?
My grandparents have a house near the Punta Raisi Airport in Palermo. I used to spend a lot of my time looking at the planes crossing the sky, until my grandad decided to take me somewhere I had never been before. It was a narrow road alongside the 07/25 runway, where we could see the take-offs and landings from very close. I felt very privileged, as only a few local residents knew about it. It was probably because of my grandad’s patience that I developed this passion. Of course, the traffic 25 years ago was just a fraction of the one today. I stayed there with him, chatting long hours waiting for the next airplane to come.
How did you get to know Albastar and why did you choose to work for this airline?
At the age of 18, after setting aside the idea to become a pilot, I graduated in international cooperation. This led me to have several experiences abroad across different countries. Among these, I spent a year working as a civil servant in Lourdes for UNITALSI, an established partner of Albastar. This is how I got to know the airline. Then, among the tasks I had in that job, I was driving the crews from the airport to the hotel and the other way around. After a few months I essentially got to know all the pilots and flight attendants. I used to ask them plenty of questions about their jobs, until one day when one of the captains asked me: “if you like flying so much, why don’t you at least become flight attendant?”, and so I did. I moved to Barcelona to take the course, and coincidentally, right after I had finished, Albastar was doing job interviews in the same school. I could not miss the chance to work with all the people I had known the year before, in a such welcoming and friendly environment.
Lourdes was then the “common thread” that made us know each other. Having worked with vulnerable people requiring special assistance, whom thanks to Albastar can reach the destination of their pilgrimages, has given you an added value for your experience as a flight assistant. What are your best memories from that period? And what is your best memory from Lourdes?
Like a child during his first days of school, I have very pleasant memories about the start. The course, the first walks through the restricted areas at the airport, discovering new things about aeronautics, but above all, the friendships with some course mates that still last today. Once I started working, the best memories are definitely about the complicity that we have on board among the crew members, and the feeling that you can always count on the person beside you. Another thing that I was pleasantly surprised to experience was the gratitude of the passengers once we were reaching the different destinations. Sometimes they were thanking me as if they owed something to me. But I was just doing my job. A job that I loved.
In Lourdes I can’t think of any memory in particular. Surely, working one year at UNITALSI gave me the opportunity to learn how many people affected by serious and severe issues can still be happy through the strength of faith and hope. This allowed me to understand that often we do not realize how lucky many of us are, and that in today’s society we tend to create problems that are not even comparable to some of the situations I have seen first hand in Lourdes.
You are an example to how passion and a spirit of sacrifice can be the cornerstone to accomplishing one’s aspirations. How did you then decide to become a pilot?
I decided it about the same time I was working as a driver in Lourdes, in one of those dozens of flights when I travelled in the cockpit to bother the pilots with plenty of questions, one captain asked me if I had ever thought about becoming a pilot. I said yes, but that I had to set aside my dream when I was 18 after I discovered that I did not meet the requirements to enter the military air force academy. When I said that it was too late for me (at that time I was 29), his answer was that I was wrong and that over the years the piloting market, and aviation more broadly, have exponentially grown and opened up. He was right. Motivated by those words and by the constant and heartful support of my family and friends, I decided to take on this journey. I started taking classes at the airline pilot academy in Palma de Mallorca while I continued working as a flight attendant at Albastar.
Is the path of becoming a pilot hard? What is your recommendation to our young readers that want to take on this journey? Surely you had bad moments too, what pushed you to keep going?
At the beginning everyone said to me that it was going to be long and difficult. And it was indeed. Aside from the expected hard work, I had a few unexpected issues. Nonetheless, thanks to my passion and dedication I managed to overcome all the obstacles that I encountered in front of me. What I want to say to future pilots, those who are now currently studying or are thinking about starting is: be sure of your choice, because making this dream come true is not easy. You will have many drawbacks along the way. You will have moments in which you will question yourself about what you are doing and whether it is worth it. But if this is what you want, and you take it on with the right dedication and effort, there are no obstacles that are insurmountable. What pushed me forward from the very beginning was thinking that I was going to accomplish my childhood dream from when I spent time with my grandad watching planes take off.