Flying the friendly skies with Lay Bencher Haydn Acheson

The Law Society's newest Lay Bencher has spent the better part of his working life in the sky.

Not withstanding a short stint as a teacher for the Richmond school district, Acheson spent nearly three decades as a commercial pilot. Today, the retired airline captain's feet are firmly planted on the management side of the airline industry.

Bencher Haydn Acheson"I'm fortunate to have had two careers — one as a pilot, which I love, and one as a manager in an incredibly challenging and exciting industry," said Acheson.

Acheson began his career with Canadian Airlines in 1973, working his way up the management ladder through his work training pilots.

Since then, he has held several senior executive and management positions with Air Canada and Canadian Airlines including Vice-President Operations, Vice-President Customer Service and Vice-President Flight Operations.

Now as President of Harmony Airways, Acheson spends much of his time working on getting the company back into flight — something he'd like to see happen in the next year.

Acheson is excited at the prospect of applying his skills and expertise to the work of the Law Society as a Lay Bencher.

"Coming from the airline industry there are a lot of challenges. Not only are you managing budgets, you're managing people, you're managing change. And you're strategizing about how to best prepare yourself, and your company, for the future.

"I was so excited to be offered a position as Lay Bencher, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to bring my experience to the Law Society," said Acheson.

While he stresses he is a retired pilot, Acheson still takes flight on occasion.

"I'm a managing pilot, which means you have to log a certain number of hours of flying time to maintain that designation. That means sometimes I have to miss meetings because I'm on a 3 day layover to Honolulu," said Acheson.

And once Harmony returns to the air, you may even have the pleasure of seeing Acheson in the captain's seat on your next flight.

Haydn Acheson — curriculum vitae

Professional experience:

  • Executive, DTK HO Enterprises LTD.
  • President, Harmony Airways
  • Vice-President, Operations, Vice-President, Customer Service, and Vice-President, Flight Operations, Canadian Airlines
  • Former Chair, Selkirk College Aviation Advisory
  • Former Member, BC Aviation Council
  • Master Executive Chairman, Canadian Airline Pilots Association (CALPA)
  • Former Member, Vancouver Board of Trade