Fernando Rodrigues – 41 Years Inspiring People

“There’s no one like Fernando! He is an excellent professional and a fantastic colleague!”, that’s how the colleagues who have shared the space with him in the last few years describe him.

Fernando Rodrigues, as Quality Manager at SATA Air Açores, played a key role in the airline obtaining the IOSA certification, which guarantees its continuity in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ensures the excellence of its operational safety. He retired this year, after 41 years of flawless work at SATA.

Before joining this company, Fernando spent four years in the Air Force, in the Paratroopers, a job he loved but did not suppress his desire to return to his roots in the Azores.

So, at the age of 24, he returned to his homeland with the promise of a job in the field of sports. The promise was not materialized, and at a time when SATA was recruiting Cabin Crew, he applied and passed all the tests with distinction, joining the company shortly after.

He was a Flight Attendant for 29 years. He was also Senior Member and Trainer until he was invited for the position of Quality Manager at SATA Air Açores, a project he embraced with the professional pride so typical of him.

After 29 years on board, Fernando flew for the last time as Cabin Crew member on April 25, 2007. Photo by João Rosa

The colleagues are unanimous when they emphasize that working with Fernando was a privilege and a joy. “He would help us with the great knowledge he had about the company, in every way he could. When he did not know something, he would try to find out right away.”; “He was always in a good mood and made sure the same happened to us.”; “He always had a joke to tell.”, they say.

Being very cheerful and communicative, he also made the best impression on the passengers he met.

At a time when there was still much fear of flying, and during episodes of increased turbulence caused by the weather, Fernando was able to very easily maintain the passengers calm and confident. In his words, the secret was always to tell the truth: “I always had absolute confidence in our captains and in our aircraft, and this is what I conveyed to the passengers.”

More than 12 years after leaving the crews, many are the people that make sure to greet him when they casually encounter Fernando and remember situations lived aboard as SATA passengers.

He always faced his job with a remarkable spirit of mission and, in four decades of work, Fernando maintained an out of ordinary dedication. There was a day when not even a car accident on the way to the airport prevented him from getting to work. “I left the car all broken at the airport and went to work. I learned later that I had gone to work with a broken rib”, he tells us.

With modesty, he says that he simply honoured his commitments and guided himself by the same values he applies in his life: “I have never done anything of too much importance. I just did my job to the best of my knowledge, trying always to measure the impact of my actions on those around me.”

Fernando always valued the opportunity to work and do one of the things that he likes the most: to be with people, which he did in an atmosphere of great camaraderie and friendship. For him “SATA is like a family.”

For SATA, that has in the staff one of its most valuable assets, Fernando Rodrigues contributed daily with his straightforwardness of character and contagious joy, for a service of excellence that he can certainly be proud of.