A Warm Welcome Back to Asia Pacific
11 April 2022
As the skies around the Asia-Pacific begin to open once more, Darren McGoldrick, Vice President of ExecuJet Asia-Pacific provides insight into how our business has adapted during the global pandemic - in a region that experienced arguably some of the toughest and longest travel restrictions.
How has ExecuJet continued operations during restrictions in APAC?
For the most part, APAC was closed off to the world or at least had very strict border control and quarantine measures in place. Operating in such restrictive conditions required great flexibility on everyone’s part.
It was crucial that the business and our staff needed to be very adaptive and agile when dealing with the ever-changing landscape of restrictions and demand levels. We were very fortunate that all our team managed to pull together effectively, making individual sacrifices and becoming flexible in their work. Having our own in-house team dedicated to 24/7 dispatch proved invaluable when it came to planning flights.
But overall, being supportive to our clients and the business was crucial as we navigated the most difficult conditions caused by the pandemic. For example, during the heaviest period of restrictions, we supported a range of repatriation passengers as either charter or FBO clients.
Our determination to find ways to operate safely and help our clients continue to fly when possible has enhanced our approach today. Safety always remains at the heart of everything we do and with the on-set of COVID-19, we had to adopt an elevated approach to ensure the wellbeing of our passengers and staff. This has now become part of our regular operations.
How are the current conditions of the market in this region now?
We are starting to see small steps being implemented across the region that suggest positive signs of industry recovery and improvement. If we look back on how other parts of the world bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing a similar pattern of events starting to occur in the APAC region. Flying has increased for both owners and charter clients, which has resulted in increased movement through our FBOs.
Having said that, across the APAC region many border closures or quarantine requirements are still in place. While this makes the movement of passengers and crew across the region difficult, that’s not to say it is impossible – it simply requires great planning and flexibility on everyone’s part.
We remain optimistic about the APAC region and its growth potential. We’ve seen an increase in enquiries, particularly for first time charter clients and from those looking to purchase an aircraft. For example, in 2021 we had three new aircraft management clients join our APAC fleet who were first time owners. These are positive signs of growth in our market segment.
How did ExecuJet ensure it was ready to start operations again once the restrictions were lifted?
As an air charter service, it’s our role to navigate changing restrictions across the nation and the globe, so that our clients can fly with full peace of mind. We have extensive knowledge, a global workforce, and all the available resources to provide our clients with a seamless end-to-end travel experience.
While we’ve always had stringent hygiene practices and cleaning standards in place, as a precaution, we have implemented several measures to reduce any form of health risk and support the safest environment possible. Every element of the guest experience has been considered and reviewed with enhanced health and hygiene protocols so that our clients can fly with complete ease.
We always ensure that our clients are presented with the very best option for their journey, whether they be a holidaymaker or a businessperson. Our teams are excited at the prospects of business returning and are ready to provide the excellent service ExecuJet is known for.
At the start of 2022, ExecuJet expanded its Asia Pacific presence – can you tell us more about this?
Earlier this year we acquired Air Center One at Auckland International Airport, New Zealand’s busiest airport. For a long time, Air Center One has been our preferred handling agent in Auckland. With over 2000 business aircraft movements per year, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand our presence across the APAC region.
The VIP lounge offers passengers expansive views of the FBO ramp area and consists of a dedicated VIP guest lounge, passenger amenities, and private meeting rooms for guests in transit. We can provide flyers with a comfortable place to relax before boarding, at the level of luxury they expect from ExecuJet.
And what can you tell us about the future?
We are always looking at ways that we can expand our service offering, so that we can provide the best experience possible for our customers. This means that we have a lot of plans in the pipeline, which we hope to implement soon. For example, we are looking to expand our aircraft charter capacity to meet the predicted demand increase as we emerge out of the pandemic. We will also continue to explore further FBO expansion opportunities, like we’ve done with our recent acquisition of Air Center One.
We’ve also had some record months in Asia-Pacific specifically. Since January, we have had three consecutive months of record movements to and from Sydney Airport, of those passengers travelling domestically to other parts of the country.