My WIL Placement: Supporting airports during COVID-19

By Noah Smyth


My name is Noah and I am currently in the final trimester of my Bachelor of Aviation Management degree. In my final trimester, am undertaking a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Placement at Aviation Projects and Avistra Aviation Consulting.  


Aviation Projects is an award-winning business that provides a wide range of services to stakeholders within the aviation industry. These services include but are not limited to strategic advisory, aviation impact assessments for the built environment as well as operational and risk management for industry stakeholders 


Avistra Aviation Consulting is a joint venture of Aviation Projects and was established in May this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Avistra provides strategic advisory and support to assist airports in particular with recovery and growth throughout these uncertain times. Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the aviation industry hard, businesses like Aviation Projects and Avistra are looking at this pandemic as an opportunity as opposed to a hurdle. Avistra’s emergence is an example of this, so I have found it extremely interesting how both businesses are finding solutions for their vast array of clients.  



My role in my WIL placement has two primary functions. The first is completing
a research project for
Avistra on the impact of COVID-19 on airport planning
and operations.
This research project has been highly challenging yet rewarding.

It has been challenging in the fact that not much peer-reviewed research has been done on COVID-19 and its impact on the aviation industry. ConsequentlyI have had to conduct extensive primary research in order to complete this task.

However, the rewarding aspect is that I am contributing to an aspect of research that will potentially be used to guide future planning for airports and other aviation industry stakeholders.  




The second primary function is assisting with the day-to-day business operations of Aviation Projects. I have undertaken a wide variety of tasks throughout my placement. These have included assisting with research and analysisreviewing and preparing documents as well as attending important client meetings. Undertaking this WIL placement has provided me with experiences that I would not have experienced within the classroom that I will take with me through my career 


The two key highlights of my placement are: 

  • Working on a feasibility study with Avistra regarding the viability of establishing air-freight and cargo flights at a regional airport in Queensland to assist in generating aeronautical revenues post-COVID. 
  • Attending the Australian Airports Association Queensland Meeting (virtually) which opened my eyes to the innovative ways in which major and regional airports in Queensland, as well as other industry stakeholders, are looking to the future in terms of operability post-COVID. 

“I truly believe that undertaking a WIL placement is one of the most beneficial things students can do to become job-ready.”

One of the consultants at Aviation Projects is an Aviation Management graduate from Griffith who did the same WIL placement as me in 2019 and was offered a job upon the placement completion. Seeing first-hand how productive and wellregarded this consultant is within the business has solidified to me how important WIL programs and internships are in establishing a career after University.  


My WIL placement has taught me new skills, has allowed me to develop connections with industry figures and has allowed me to apply the knowledge from my degree to a real-world, professional environment.  


I strongly encourage students to apply for a WIL placement should the opportunity present itselfThe experiences you will take-away may shape your future beyond University, and I am extremely grateful to Griffith and the team at Aviation Projects and Avistra Aviation Consulting for providing me with this opportunity.  

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