As we enter 2018 and I enter my 53rd year in aviation, I have really started to think about what I want my legacy to be in this industry. In many ways, this is an unanswerable question. Maybe the only way I can tackle it is to look at patterns in my career.I am proud of my industry. Since I started in 1965, I have seen and flown planes that have completely moved air travel forward leaps and bounds every few years. Sure, it’s not like Apple releasing a new iPhone every year, but when you think about what it takes to make one plane faster or safer than another to a significant degree, you can appreciate how much time that would take. And in thinking about Apple, I thought about Steve Jobs, as well as Bill Gates and others.
It then dawned on me.
Bill Gates wanted a PC in every home. Steve Jobs wanted you to walk around with 10,000 songs in your pocket. All of these leaders aimed at something I admire now as I think about goals for our industry.
Liberation. Democracy. Inclusion.
When you are married to an industry for as long as I have been, nothing brings greater joy than seeing the positive impact it has on people’s lives and seeing more people have access to that positive impact. It is this feeling that I am sure has likely guided me to GI Aviation, where I am the current General Manager. Our fleet is currently made of two, Swiss-built, Pilatus PC12 NG airplanes. In essence, they have a single engine, can easily fly throughout the GCC, and 6 people will pay in the region of a business class ticket each to fly as they wish, when they wish, and in total privacy.
This is important because everyone knows they can fly business, but only a fraction of people know they can fly private. If more people knew, you would see many more travellers taking the option.
– A family in Bahrain heading to Dubai for an evening at the Opera
– An executive from Abu Dhabi that would like to take a meeting in RAK and Muscat on the same day
– A couple in Riyadh that would like to celebrate their anniversary on Sir Bani Yas Island
All of these people can do so and be wrapped up in their own beds at night. But many choose to wait in airports or spend nights in hotels away from loved ones. I discussed this with my team at GI Aviation, and then we came up with our new (albeit internal) goal.
We’re here to offer private aviation to the last person you would expect to fly private.
Seeing the impact this PC12 NG has made on our clients lives is incredible. Even we are learning, as new customers come on board, how versatile and enabling this plane is to short distance flyers across the GCC. At no point in my life have I been so determined to introduce people to private aviation as I am today.
And as I sit typing this from our HQ in Abu Dhabi, I would ask only one thing of you. If you have any questions what-so-ever, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +971 (0) 2 444 5233. If I am not around, anyone at the office will be able to answer your questions. Even the idea of a few extra people a month experiencing the delight that is private aviation would make me feel over the moon.
I’ve seen many leaps and bounds over the years. My hope in 2018 is that you might too. I sincerely welcome all of you to share in my passion for private aviation. If that means you get to a meeting in half the time, great. But outside the practicality, nothing warms my heart more than knowing that so many new people will experience private aviation with us in 2018, especially as technology has brought the price down so significantly.
That’s it for now. I wish you all a wonderful 2018 and if you like this article please follow me on LinkedIn. I’ll be documenting more of our journey as we go along.