GlobeAir adds OE-FNP Mustang

Bernhard Fragner, GlobeAir

Bernhard Fragner, CEO of GlobeAir

GlobeAir, an owner and operator of a fleet of Cessna Citation Mustang private jets, had added another Mustang to its fleet of aircraft in Austria with the tail number OE-FNP.

This addition takes GlobeAir’s fleet up to a total of 12 aircraft, including tail numbers such as OE-FFB, OC-FHK and OE-FZA.

Bernhard Fragner, CEO of GlobeAir, says: “When it was first released, few were convinced that the light jet segment would be popular, with passengers routinely opting for larger aircraft, but the Mustang has quickly taken off in the European aircraft charter market.”

Since its launch in 2007, GlobeAir has appointed 80 members of staff. Last year, the company allowed its customers to book charter flights online and receive real-time pricing information as part of a partnership with PrivateFly, an online charter broker in the UK.

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A recent development at GlobeAir is the enforcement of a strict no-smoking policy across its entire aircraft fleet as a safety precaution.

“We are simply aligned with the overall non-smoking and health trend,” says Fragner. “In the past years we almost had no smokers on board. Very important for us is the safety issue; it is evident that smoking on board increases the safety risk significantly.”

Mauro De Rosa, shareholder of GlobeAir, added: “People became very sensitive to this matter and for our crew secondhand smoke exposure became more of an issue, so we decided to step back and reconsider our policy.”

Corporate Jet Investor asked Fragner about GlobeAir’s relationship with the Mustang and the company’s business strategy going forward.

What is it about the Mustang that has caused GlobeAir to base its entire business strategy around the aircraft?

“The core concept of our initial idea of air taxi business model was based on two simple facts: offering ad hoc charter service at affordable rates. The Citation Mustang was the first aircraft type available to give us the opportunity to jump on the air taxi hype.

“Many elements of our early concept are still valid and implemented in our day-to-day activity. The Citation Mustang is still the only aircraft offering these basic business principles and the real selling point, for both business and leisure travellers is its pricing.

“Looking at statistics we can see that the Citation Mustang is well accepted in the market that originally appeared hostile. Currently the Mustang counts for 22 per cent of the overall air charter market in Europe – this is a significant number.”

Will GlobeAir ever consider operating other aircraft types?

“GlobeAir is continuously evaluating other aircraft since day one. The determining factor is the market and existing client base. Once we receive strong signals that the market is asking for larger aircraft we will definitely introduce a second type. Our team is convinced that the business model we developed and sharpened over the years will work with other aircraft types very well.

“What is more relevant are the relationships developed with our customers and the business policies developed; the aircraft type is the tool. We have also identified that we would start with a second fleet having by at least three aircraft of the same type.”

Now that we are almost a quarter of the way into 2015, how do the number of hours flown by GlobeAir compare to the same period last year?

“Compared to the same period last year we faced a decrease in January and February of 8-9 per cent. We are convinced that this result is linked to a contraction of the overall European economy. The positive thing is that the price level is slightly better than last year by 3-4 per cent.

“The first 10 days of March have marked a clear recover and a strong demand coming back. On the other side, there is a clear evidence of an excess of capacity in the market, which results in a general price reduction in the air charter sector.”

In what regions or one what routes is GlobeAir seeing the most growth?

“We still see huge potential in Western Europe, although there is a need to educate the market. Our industry has to continuously develop new concepts and implement innovative marketing campaigns in order to reach more customers. Almost every week we get new customers on board who didn’t know about the advantages provided by the air taxi services and they get very excited about the possibility of flying at affordable fares from their closest airport to the desired destination.

“This is where the online platforms will step in to bridge the gap. Those platforms are the ones who probably have the best chances to educate the market in a much more efficient and smarter way, as this industry did over decades. Technology will contribute a lot and we will see new concepts on the horizons very soon.”

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