The year 2017, much like 2016, was a very busy year operationally for Kenyon. We were actively involved with six commercial aviation events; two business/corporate aviation losses; two difficult repatriations; one rail accident; and, for government clients, one terror attack (Manchester Arena bombing) and one residential building fire (Grenfell Tower). Response to some of these incidents remains ongoing.
However, 2017 was also the safest year in aviation history. There were 10 fatal accidents involving commercial flights, which sadly resulted in the loss of 44 people. Despite reductions in large-scale commercial aviation losses, Kenyon is increasingly activated by our airline clients for smaller incidents that we presumably would not have been asked to assist with in the past. This is a trend I don’t see changing and one I personally believe is a result of the families and employees of those affected by horrible incidents demanding better preparation, response and care following a crisis. Airlines, much like other industries (travel/tourism, rail, maritime, natural resource companies, governments, etc.), understand these needs and are proactively managing the "smaller" incidents to the same standard they would for larger ones.
Good crisis management is a conscious decision. For some, however, it is an afterthought or a cost-based decision. While this may satisfy a regulatory requirement or even give a sense of comfort, when it fails, it makes a bad situation worse. This comes at an extremely high cost, personally, professionally and financially. You cannot undo the incident but you can show the compassionate, human and responsible side of your organization. The way you respond to an incident should demonstrate these characteristics – but, remember, you get only one chance to respond. You need to make sure it is the right response.
Notably, in 2017, two low-cost carriers, a multinational technology company (probably the world’s largest search engine company), and a leading global brand hotel group were among some of the new businesses that we welcomed aboard as Kenyon clients. They made the very conscious decision that their choice of a crisis management service partner is based on sound understanding of our significant experience, capabilities, resources, and reliability in partnering with them through all types of incidents.
Kenyon invests millions of dollars in the acquisition, maintenance and storage of immediately deployable specialist equipment. We also invest in maintaining a network of over 1,800 people located across the globe, and 25 full-time staff members based in four countries, to support our operations and ensure 24/7/365 readiness.
When Kenyon signs a contract with you, we are making a promise that no matter the time of day, day of year or nature of event, we are committed to responding with the most professional and best-practice approach. That means having real resources ready to go. That means fulltime staff to maintain equipment and manage the 1800+ oncall specialists. It means real training programs incorporating lessons learned from the several hundred incidents we have been directly involved in.
The equipment and staff enables Kenyon to respond and assist you, our clients, with support for much more than just fatal accidents. We also provide support for areas that can have a huge impact on reputation and risk the perception of your business as irresponsible or uncaring. In fact, in 2017, three of the aviation incidents we responded to involved supporting passengers or employees who were not involved in the loss of an aircraft.
In 2018 we will continue that investment. We are refreshing our training courses and materials in which we will incorporate invaluable learning from recent and ongoing deployments, and are rolling out the latest version for our proprietary disaster management software suite, Kenyon Response®.
In closing, I sincerely wish for and hope for a less busy year, however, the trend has been the opposite. Despite the everyday improvements in safety across all industries, the expectations of the people directly affected, their families, the public and governments are that all businesses are prepared and able to respond efficiently, professionally and compassionately to manage the consequences when events occur, no matter how rarely they occur. I appreciate that you’ve chosen Kenyon as your partner. As you face these challenges head on, Kenyon is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.
My warmest personal regards,
Robert A. Jensen