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Interview with Christophe Naessens

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‘As a student, finances are always tight. Now that I have fewer financial constraints, I can help the current generation of students to live the EUROAVIA experience: attend international events, meet people, learn and have fun!’

 

Christophe Naessens studied Electro-Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and graduated in 2002. He became part of EUROAVIA in 1997 when he started his studies there and, in the business year 2002-2003, he became the IB Treasurer. Since then, he is our sponsor and his financial aid contributes to the well-functioning of our Association.

Balloon festival 2021

Christophe has spent almost 17 years working for Rolls-Royce in Derby (UK) and did a 2 year international assignment in Singapore where he set up the engineering team for the Customer Regional Team. Earlier this year, he started a new adventure at AirTanker, where he is the responsible of making sure the engines of a fleet of 14 Multi-Role Tanker Transports are managed in the most effective way, balancing operational availability, maintenance burden, cost… These aircrafts, known as ‘Voyager’, provide the in-air refueling capability for the Royal Air Force and are based at Brize Norton, near Oxford.

The EUROAVIA we now know is quite different to the one Christophe was part of. Back then, cameras required film rolls, there was limited or no social media and video conferencing was non-existent. Therefore, he entered the Association attracted to the local activities AS Leuven offered and, little by little, became more involved in the international level. ‘Looking back at those days, it felt like each event was an adventure. You didn’t know all the other attendees but you knew you’d be meeting likeminded people and do interesting things’.

EMEAC Lisbon 2002

Christophe didn’t come from a background where an international mindset came natural but his experiences at EUROAVIA changed that to the point he has now lived in a different continent and settled in a country that is not his country of birth. He learned about the differences within Europe (and, by extrapolation, the world) in how issues are seen and how solutions are formed, realizing that one’s education affects highly in our way of experiencing and solving challenges. He highlights that having an open mind in these cases is particularly important when joining a global industry such aviation.

Christophe thinks that the EUROAVIA Spirit is hard to put into words but he would summarize it as an incubator for new ideas. ‘We are surrounded by challenges and EUROAVIAns must embrace them and see them as opportunities, with EUROAVIA providing a platform for bright, likeminded young people to meet and exchange ideas.’

Fly in Pisa 2003


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