Bitter Sweet.

Owen Zupp Boeing 787


Bitter Sweet…..some posts are more difficult to write than others.

Life is all about making decisions – some big – some small. For those of you who have followed my journey over the last 12 months, you will be well aware of the challenges that I’ve faced following major surgery. Along the way, there have been more decisions to consider than I care to recall. Today, I have a happy and healthy life with no complaints forthcoming.

Over a long career, one of the highlights was undoubtedly gaining a command on the Boeing 737. It had been the first jet that I flew 30 years ago with a previous airline and will undoubtedly remain the aircraft that I have flown the most. This week the airline formally recognised those of us who had attained our commands over the last 12 months. And therein lies the bitter sweet decision that had to be made.

Owen Zupp. Captain Boeing 737 QantasHaving fought back to a sound state of health, I had to step back and look forward. Where does my career go from here?

Domestic flying on the 737 is a fantastic challenge but equally demanding. Four sectors each day, aircraft changes throughout that day and all of the variables that come with servicing a diverse domestic network. Added to the mix was my 100+ kilometre each way commute to the airport. It is an aspect of my career that has accounted for well over twenty years.

In prioritising my health, at first I considered retirement – but I still have the passion to fly. Ultimately, I settled on seeking to fly the Boeing 787 to offer the best balance to preserve my health and prioritise my family. Unfortunately, having joined the airline following the collapse of Ansett Australia, I only have 21 years of service and that is not enough to transfer to the 787 as a Captain. So, here is the bitter sweet. I am fit and ready to return to flying but will have to relinquish my command.

The airline has been very understanding and approved my request and on promulgating my transfer officially, I have been inundated by messages of support from my colleagues. More than anyone, they know what this decision means.

Even so, the future may yet offer up opportunities that have not yet peered above the horizon. What is apparent is that this is the correct decision for my family and my ongoing health. It was not an easy decision and I am forever grateful to Kirrily and the many doctors, fellow pilots and friends that I discussed this with before making the final call.

I will miss the left-hand seat but I am also excited to fly the Boeing 787. I will miss the challenge of domestic flying but I’m keen to see new destinations around the world. Yes, it is truly bitter sweet.

Owen Zupp Boeing 787 Qantas