Luxaviation: ‘An extraordinary time to be in charter’
At no other time in his 30-plus years in charter operations have average prices been at sustainable levels with demand “by far” outweighing supply, according to George Galanopoulos, MD and CEO, Luxaviation UK.
Speaking from inside a company fleet Dornier at this week’s Air Charter Expo at London’s Biggin Hill Airport, Galanopoulos told CJI: “This has been unprecedented time in my experience, in the charter market I have never seen it like this. There’s been the good times and the bad times –obviously economically driven. But this time it was unprecedented because people wanted to get back to travelling.”
As fliers returned, they did so with the Covid risk in their minds and this represented a growth opportunity for charter operators, said Galanopoulos, especially from older clients who are more wary of risks. “We have seen a lot of newcomers coming into the business as well,” he added.
Chay White, Group Aviation Commercial programme director, Luxaviation told CJI: “I would also add the unreliability of airlines to the demand we have been seeing. The cutting of routes and flights has really played into business aviation’s hands and has allowed us to show the service we provide is efficient.”
Despite a slight slowdown in September, Galanopoulos expects demand to continue to outstrip supply, the only black clouds on the horizon relate to the economy, he said.
“But I don’t think any of the new clients that have tasted business aviation will go back to the airlines – very few, if any. I haven’t heard from many people who haven’t experienced their lost or delayed luggage at some point this year. I think business aviation gained a lot coming out of the Covid economy,” said Galanopoulos.
“I think we are still going to be busy [through the winter],” he added.
This week Luxaviation launched a new digital management system to provide a single point of contact for clients. The portal integrates an aircraft specification app, empty-leg management with social sharing and a booking tool.
White said: “It has allowed to take a step forward into the future. We realise how important it is to be technology based, that is not new to the industry. For example, brokerage companies have been playing in that arena for some time now.”
It is about honing the A-Z of a client’s experience, explained White. “It is the first touchpoint with Luxaviation as a group. From chartering an aircraft to offering the client a choice to use synthetic fuels like SAF. It is to make the whole process more open for clients and invite them into the organisation.”
The portal also gives access to standardised spec sheets for all 130 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters in the fleet.