Euro Jet Intercontinental plans to handle 6,000 flights this year and has been expanding its reach to set-up flights throughout Africa, South America, and South East Asia.
Over the course of the past five years, Euro Jet Intercontinental has built a network of some 200 staff to arrange for ground support and flight planning in the growing, but under-served markets of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
From its operations center in Prague, the company has built a reputation for consistent service on the ramp at airports where inconsistent service remains a common trait within the business aviation industry.
“We have a presence at over 200 locations in 30 countries,” says Gareth Danker, director of global sales and marketing. “We provide to our 600-plus yearly customers services that include ground handling set-up and supervision, fuel, permits, flight planning, crew hotel and transportation, in addition to credit facilities.” Last year, the company also began an expansion into Western Europe as part of a global growth plan. To find out more, we emailed questions to Danker:
Q: Tell us about how Euro Jet Intercontinental got its start.
A: The company got its start when it was identified that throughout our region there is a lack of real VIP ground handling services that is more common with FBO networks throughout the United States and Western Europe. Within Eastern Europe and Central Asia most airports provide their own state-owned handling and the FBO experience is nonexistent. Euro Jet identified this lack of service and put in place its own staff that could coordinate the handling, catering, transportation, hotel reservations, and makes sure that everything runs perfectly from A to Z. This gives the customers a virtual FBO experience.
Q: How did you get involved with the company?
A: I spent eight years working for a major charter broker. One of my responsibilities was to run a program that oversaw a diplomatic aircraft that flew all over the world. I had to oversee all handling set-ups, which included using Euro Jet. I noticed very early on that every time Euro Jet was involved in a handling set-up, there were little to no issues. Anytime you see a company that seems to be doing its job and doing it well, your interest gets peaked into how you can get to, perhaps, one day join them.
Q: What does Euro Jet do to provide a consistent experience for its customers?
A: We train all our staff. They come to Prague and participate in our corporate training program. But it does not end there. We bring them back to Prague and then we visit them on-the-ground in their locations and look at the facilities, the transport, the hotels, the caterers, and, of course, meet the other airport staff that is just as critical to our operation.
We have a small team of us that manage this process and constantly return to go back and inspect all our stations and make sure that everything is going well.
Every station has an inspection at least once a year. Furthermore, after every trip the pilot has to fill out a form stating how the service was at the Euro Jet station.
We then compile this data to ensure that no station is falling behind. If that is the case then we would work to fix it by increased training or finding new staff.
I personally oversee any customer service complaint, though when we do receive them, it usually involves something unrelated to Euro Jet. But we do research everything and get back to our customers with an explanation.
Q: What do you think sets Euro Jet apart for its competitors?
A: I would first say that Euro Jet is the only company of its kind to have a network of handlers in 30 countries throughout 200 cities. Plus, no company dedicated to VIP trip support has that kind of coverage in so many different countries.
But what separates us is the fact that we are very hands-on with our customers. You mention Euro Jet to our customers and they will all know the top management in the company and have strong relationships with different staffers that they can then call up on their cell phones at a moment’s notice if they have an issue.
While we are a big company, we operate like a small family and really know what everyone is doing and, ultimately, this leads to a lack of bureaucracy and ability to get things done fast. This is, of course, essential in this kind of industry.
Q: From a marketing standpoint, what economic forces are trending in your markets that help grow your business?
A: The Eastern European and Central Asian market are certainly rapidly developing markets. Eastern Europe is one of the top manufacturing hubs for Europe, especially in parts of Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia continue to be very attractive vacation destinations. We have especially seen this in Tivat, Montenegro. Furthermore Central Europe remains a very strategic location for different military movements and is perfect for fuel stops in between Central Asia and the Middle East. Central Asia remains a key location for natural reasons, including oil and natural gas. Furthermore there are many cities like Baku in Azerbaijan and Almaty and Astana in Kazakhstan that offer excellent refueling capabilities for flights headed toward India and China respectively.
Q: How is business going so far in 2013?
A: Fortunately, 2013 has seen record growth for the company. While the aviation sector had a slow start in traffic in 2013, we feel it has really picked up the past few months and we can verify all the other articles that are popping up saying that there is a record growth in private aviation.
We are planning on exceeding 6,000 flights this year and have been expanding our reach to set-up flights throughout Africa, South America, and South East Asia rather than just in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
We feel that many companies that have to pick between many different set-up companies, realize that Euro Jet is the only one with the kind of presence that we have throughout our core region.