As part of Day 2, and the discussions at CJI London 2021 on Charter, Operating and Managing Aircraft, our CEO, Marwan Khalek spoke with Alasdair Whyte of CJI, about his thoughts on the business aviation sector and the signs of some cautious optimism going into the late summer of this year. Also, how our recent SBU restructure helps us prepare for the times ahead as we hopefully move out, as the vaccines take effect, of the health crisis and start to confirm how the business aviation landscape has altered.

The top 5 themes as Marwan saw them going forward were;

1: Future optimism.

There was cautious optimism within the sector, as highlighted by recent investment in the markets (Wheels Up & Signature), that the business aviation sector is expecting to be a point of growth. There was a recognition that business aviation could be seen as an increasingly viable alternative beyond the wealthiest 1%. While the airline volumes may be slower to regain previous levels, Marwan believed business aviation would see an increase in volumes more quickly, due to the greater safety, flexibility and freedom, and the pent up demand to travel that has been generated as a consequence of multiple lockdowns and travel restrictions.

2: Aircraft management changes.

He thought there had been a polarisation within the aircraft management market between pure ‘sole use’ management (where the aircraft was managed and maintained for the client and client only) and those who occasionally utilised their asset for private/personal use whilst endeavouring to maximise the charter return and revenue generation of the aircraft.

3: A drive for efficiencies.

Another predominant theme was the drive that Marwan expects by all within the sector for efficiencies and improving how operators deliver their businesses effectively. He believes our re-organisation into three new, dedicated, business units of Business Aviation, Special Mission and Technology & Outsourcing allows us to really focus down on the specific demands of each sector. The investment we have made both organisationally and in terms of team’s structure will significantly benefit us in the future. It was also noted that one of the driving ambitions in our investment in our Technology and Outsourcing business unit and in particular the myairops software suite was the need to develop a software platform that enhances the way the industry operates. Marwan confirmed our commitment for future investment in the Technology and Outsourcing market offering, to significantly improve how the sector operates, how it utilises data with a recognition that working practices have changed and will continue to change moving forward.

4: Jet East MRO, our desire to grow in the US.

Our purchase of the Jet East MRO business in the US was a demonstration of our strategy,  a re-iteration of the cautious optimism we see in the sector, and a reflection of the sectors resilience to this health crisis. It is essential to our continued success to grow and develop our MRO offering in the US, the world’s largest business aviation market. We are proud of the support we have offered to our clients in that market, and the integral role that we play within their operations, particularly in the safe reduction of unnecessary aircraft downtime, however we aim to do more. The Jet East acquisition allows us to grow our coverage. and capabilities to provide our clients with an efficient and effective single source supplier of MRO services.

5: Future expansion.

Marwan confirmed that the Group are always active in the market, and that has not changed as all our new SBUs are open to development but the opportunities must be correct on many fronts. This particularly applied to cultural and operational fit, as well as the more prosaic requirements of financial stature, operational overlap, etc.. The quote Marwan used was ‘one and one must make more than two’, if that is the case then the Group will vigorously pursue new opportunities that enable our clients to deliver a decisive advantage to their own customers.