May 10, 2024

We provide alternative to owning a private jet –  Scalabrini

By Lawani Mikairu

There is now an opportunity to have a private jet waiting to take an individual or company executives to anywhere they want to go without being the owner of the plane and paying airport charges and maintenance fees.

This was disclosed by  Philippe Scalabrini ,VistaJet President of Europe and Africa, while briefing newsmen in Lagos after a static tour of Bombardier Challenger 605 aircraft by aviation correspondents at Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

He said all that is needed is for the individual or company executives to register and be a client of Vista jet and book a minimum of 50 flight hours.

Explaining the difference between the service and charter service, Scalabrini said: ” If a client is looking to charter an aircraft for example,the problem is that  it is not consistent. You are not sure of what you are going to have. The aircraft is only available if the owner is not using it or the owner is not ready to let it go. It creates this problem when you want to go somewhere and you are not able to because the aircraft is not available. We give client something close to aircraft ownership without the headaches that comes with owning an aircraft.”

He further said: ” We are providing flight services for our clients. We have had the ability to get assets for client. Instead of buying assets that become very complicated that has a lot of restrictions and a lot of regulations, we simply offer flight services based on purchasing block hours.

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” Our clients are not faced with maintenance issues or dealing with depreciation of the assets. People can buy block of 50 hours and we can tailor our solutions for them. We simplify and make access to private aviation services as transparent as possible”.

On the ability if Vista jet to render such service, he said , “We are a global leader in private aviation. We have over 300 airplanes all over the world. We have been operating in West Africa for over 14 years. We have experience flying from all over the world including Africa and West Africa.

“So, what we are introducing here today is what we started about three years ago. We are introducing a fleet of Challenger 605 from Bombardier. This is dedicated to the region here. It is very exciting for us because over the years we seen the potential.”

He also revealed why Vista jet is interested in West African and Nigerian market

“For us, Nigeria is a very important market. It is a good hub for us. Over the years, we have always had dynamic business here. Our customers are head of companies, entrepreneurs and people who really need  airplanes to go around and do their work. So, for us, the size of the market is more dictated by needs of our clients.”

On the nature and scope of the charter service, Scalabrini said ” Our clients can fly from point to point. There is no need to fly the aircraft back to Nigeria for example. So, a flight could go to South Africa, stay there for a week and fly commercially to Dubai. Our planes keep flying. You just pay for the occupancy flight time. There is actually no repositioning cost.

“There is a much gain, efficiency and consistent product offering and what we are deploying now in West African region is what we are doing in the rest of the world. Those in our flight membership programme will have access to our 300 airplanes in Europe, United States, Asia and Middle East.

“So for us, the Nigerian market is a huge aviation market already. For a lot of people, they are not utilising the assets enough. So, we are offering a solution such that someone can buy 100 hours and use the right aircraft type. If you are flying to the United States, you also get the right aircraft there as well.

“We have three Challenger 605 aircraft in the region but we have much more airplanes. At any given time, across the continent, we can have as much as 15, 20 or even 25 planes. We have the ability to bring in more aircraft whenever the need is there. But what we are doing now is that these aircraft are deployed to stay in the West African region and they are always flying. We own the aircraft, we operate the aircraft. We are always optimising and ensure we generate revenue on the asset.

” If a client for instance fly two hours, we use the aircraft to fly another client. So if a client is flying two hours and we have another client, we could use another plane or it could be the same plane”.

On how long VistaJet has  been in the Nigerian market, he said, “We have been in Nigeria for 14 years. So we have a lot of experience into every city and every country. We have flown to 96 percent of the world’s countries. We know how to operate anywhere. The difference today is that when we are doing a one hour flight from Nigeria to Ghana for instance, if we didn’t have an airplane here, we would have to position an aircraft from Europe and Dubai. So, now by developing our infrastructure here with having more airplanes that are dedicated to the region, we can operate seamlessly within the West African region.”