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Reaching for the skies, with two feet firmly on the ground

Executive Aviation - Andrea Trapani

This week I caught up with Andrea Trapani, Founder and owner of Executive Aviation Malta. I had met Andrea on a few occasions before but never experienced such a candid insight into what makes this young entrepreneur tick. Andrea put his passion for the aviation industry into action 6 years ago when he started his business aviation company, Executive Aviation Malta.

I really wanted to understand more about the company and the industry within Malta. Andrea’s replies to my questions were obviously very well informed, honest, and brimming with enthusiasm.

Here’s what he had to say.

AC: Being a relatively small country, how many private and executive jets actually pass through our islands?

AT:  On average there are about 5 to 6 movements a day passing through Malta. At Executive Aviation Malta, we handle 1 or 2 of these movements daily. Predominantly we handle business jets but we also do a little bit of general aviation logistics with a limited number of customers. Business aviation really is our core business. We look after business people, entrepreneurs visiting our islands and others just transiting. We also cater for fuel stops and crew rests upon requests when the aircraft’s final destination is not Malta.

Geographically, we are in great position. Being positioned right in the middle of the Mediterranean makes a lot of sense for aircraft operators when considering Malta for a fuel stop. In the past years we have been able to attract a lot of fuel business since we do manage to turn around any aircraft in record times. We managed to attract good business from other European countries such as Greece, Italy and nearby Libya in recent years.

AC: How does Executive Aviation Malta set itself apart from its competitors within such a niche market?

AT: There are 2 other main players specialising in business aviation who I consider to be our main competition. We are glad to have about one third of the share of the market already even though we’ve only been around for 6 years. We have some considerable USPs that helped us achieve this early position.

We pride ourselves on being able to achieve a turnaround in record time of less than 1 hour for 95% of aircraft choosing to use our services when simply passing through Malta. This is really something we strive to maintain even though we are only a small team of 5 people at Executive Aviation Malta. Our size makes us think quick on our feet and also keeps us all in close touch with our clients. I believe in an honest, open relationship with all our customers and they do appreciate that.

Our airside offices incorporate crew and passenger lounges and shower facilities like no other so we can afford our visitors a level of comfort no one else can. Even the VIP vehicles that we fully own are of the highest standards: We use these airside for  shuttling of passengers and crew between the aircraft and our lounges at Malta International Airport. We currently have 2 executive black Mercedes-Benz Vianos and a luxurious 5 series BMW vehicle.

Executive Aviation - lounge

With the above mentioned set-up, we are able to provide exceptional discreet service whilst keeping our amenities personal and professional.

AC: I know you set up the company yourself 6 years ago. What made you want to go it alone?

AT: I have 24 years’ experience in the aviation industry as a whole. After a number of years working for the national carrier, Air Malta, I moved into business aviation, spending some time working for one of the companies that I today consider to be one of my competitors. That’s where I well and truly caught the business aviation bug. However, my dreams didn’t stop there, and being the ambitious kind of person I am, I wanted to really make my mark on this sector. I started to travel, network and educate myself and bit by bit was able to launch my own business back in 2010.

It is my passion for the business and the drive that made this course of action a forgone conclusion in the end: And I must say I am still as passionate today as I was 6 years ago.

AC: Malta is selling itself as a destination when it comes to luxury tourism and an influx of high net worth individuals looking to take up residency and even citizenship. Are you feeling this trend within your business? Is it just a passing phase?

AT: This new phenomenon has definitely given a boost to our business. We have a lot of VIPs flying to Malta to work on their applications for Citizenship by Investment. The regulations of the scheme mean that these individuals also have to actually spend time in Malta once Citizenship is granted, so for us this means lots of travel in and out.

In fact, now we have regular customers who we know are here because of this scheme so it even creates a good flow of repeat business for us and all our sub-contractors.

AC: Is there much call for your services from the domestic market? Is this likely to change at all and why?

AT: In terms of local business, we only really see clients who are foreign investors with local business interests. Given Malta’s size, there are only a handful of super wealthy Maltese residents who could even consider the use of private jets, and in most cases, these individuals still opt to fly commercial airlines, travelling Business or First Class. There is also a limited choice of readily available business jets to charter in Malta to be able to take off at short notice. I would very much like to see an increase in the use of business aviation by the Maltese.

I closed off our interview asking Andrea what his own experience of flying in a business jet was, and I have to admit his answer surprised me. “Although I did come across a few occasions, I’ve never flown in a business jet. Yet!”. For Andrea, his passion is clearly concentrated around the level of service he offers to his customers, however, I have a feeling that it is only a matter of time till this highly-motivated, young entrepreneur is living the jet-set lifestyle himself.

For more information about Executive Aviation Malta and they services they provide, you can view their Partner Profile here. 
Photo Credits: Ron Kerr

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