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A trusted provider of aviation services, Luxaviation UK - EBACE 2024 discussion with George Galanopoulos

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A trusted provider of aviation services, Luxaviation UK - EBACE 2024 discussion with George Galanopoulos  - Business aviation publisher
Tatjana Obrazcova
Country: United Kingdom Aircraft: Airplanes


Founded back in 1996, with a fleet of single-engine aircraft, London Executive Aviation has rapidly grown to become one of the largest charter airlines in Europe. The diverse fleet comprised primarily of jet aircraft, includes many of today's most desirable and efficient aircraft, perfectly suited to the needs of business or leisure travelers. George Galanopoulos has over 20 years’ experience in commercial flying and charter management. He is a CAA Authorized Examiner, a BBGA Council Member and a member of the Pilots and Navigators Association.George is one of best persons in business aviation industry to discuss, to find out what’s changes or evaluated. He’s accessibility and simplicity is so impressive, a pleasure since decades. Please find the essential of our discussion:​

T.O. So, George, pleasure to meet you! One year after, we will discuss everything what is new, all the trends, what Luxaviation UK did during this time and what are most exciting news? So, tell me, what is your vision? How the market is changing, what are latest trends that you can share with us? 

G.G. Well, 2023 was a challenging year, I think, for the whole industry. After the very highs of 2022, 2024 started a bit slow, but certainly work is picking up and the trends we see is what we've seen for the last few years, an influx of younger clients. So, the certain, the average age has dropped, probably clients from different industries as well. I think the whole industry now, the whole business aviation start getting more Youtubers and influencers. 

T.O. They're changing? 

G.G.They are changing, of course, we still have the traditional clients The people are in property hedge funds, private equity. They're still the main part of our clientele. But, there are new people coming into the industry which encourages. 

T.O. What is about new people? You're telling they are coming to the industry, how the demand is changing, what are expectations? What you see a little bit different from those new clients? 

G.G. I think the younger people have less expectations when they use a private jet to the old school traditional client that they wanted a civil service and top end catering younger people are a lot simpler. Open minded, very open minded We get, for example, catering, which is an indication quite often what the kind of clients they are We will get very much Asian food, sushi because people are more cautious about what they eat these days but at the same time, we have people that order McDonald's. So, so this is a little bit different. 

T.O. Would you say that sustainable aviation is still a topic number one? Or it is changing? Because now we are talking more about efficiency, not only sustainable aviation, maybe because people get, they are getting tired of using the same sustainable aviation terms and so on. From your perspective, should we work more on the efficiency or keep going with sustainable aviation? 

G.G. We've been talking about sustainability for several years and quite rightly, people are very concerned as an industry. I always said we don't do enough. To get a message out there. Business aviation is doing an awful lot for sustainability. Manufacturers are working hard. We've got sustainable aviation fuel we've got AI. Now that is kind of making routing more efficient. So, there are considerable savings. As an industry, we always been regulated I would say overregulated over the years. So, we have learned to deal with new requirements. Sustainability is one of those new requirements for me. Now, I see the last few months, the subject starts dropping a bit. There's less talk about it still on top of the agenda in many conferences. But efficiency is something we should be maybe talk more about. And there's so much you can do when you fly an aircraft. And for the time being, we are stuck with fossil fuels using SAF, providing is available. It's great because we're heading towards this net zero, we all try to achieve by 2050. Someday, someday we go electric aviation that starts taking shape and here in the next couple of years, that will become a reality, if not sooner. But for me, electric aviation is not fully sustainable. Let's face it, for me, it's an interim solution for short haul flight. We're never going to see an electric airline flying across the Atlantic. Then we must investigate hydrogen. And from what I understand, we're talking to Airbus, Gulfstream... They're all looking and working towards those solutions. But, still we have to wait for some years, if not decades, until the testing, certification and all the regulation. 

T.O. What’s about new aircraft? 

G.G. Well, we recently added a Hawker 900 XP which has released in the news today that will be based in Milan and south of France area and that will be available for charter. We are adding aircraft to the fleet. We are looking probably to add more larger cabin aircraft on smaller. We see the demand is moving more to the larger fleet, but at the same time we still have a core fleet of Citation in the UK, in Belgium. And the latest news of course is that we acquired, we had two big acquisitions of FBO's, the Paragon FBO's in the US and Sky Valet everywhere. 

T.O. We are following what exactly you're doing. My last question is an obvious and easy one: what you as an industry leader could do for future aviators? Do you need more of younger people coming to work to the industry and how you can attract them? 

G.G. We certainly need younger people. We need people because there is a shortage of labor in our industry. Not so much on pilots I think we had this dip during the COVID that training stopped us. So we're going to see the effect, or we are seeing the effect of it now about engineers, ground staff, operations staff. I'm pleased to say there's associations like the BBGA in the UK. They're doing a lot about attracting more people. We have a partnership which is Stansted Airport College. And we all as an industry, I think we do, we just realized we need to do a lot to attract young people. It's just aviation, I see is not in young people's minds. When they finish school, you have the ones that go passion for aviation, they love airplanes. Of course, naturally they're going to drop into the industry, but the people that they just looking for a career. Somehow aviation doesn't come into their head. And the other thing we need more women into aviation! There's still that conception that is a very male dominated industry. A pilot must be a man. No, it doesn't. We go some female pilots and they're great. Love them. They're very good. Especially in business aviation with service and be personal with the client. So important. I think women do a fantastic job! 

T.O.I can share a secret information. The flight I was always afraid to do from St. Maarten to St. Barth. St. Barth is one of TOP 10 most dangerous airports in the world! So, even if it's seven-minute flight, it's quite a challenge for me. But the flight back from St. Barth to St. Maarten, it was a young girl who was a pilot with St. Barth-Commuter. It was just amazing! So delicate, amazing! So, I wish you a great show because you just arrived, and you will discover everything at EBACE and catch you up maybe a little bit later. Definitely. I will catch you up with questions after EBACE to see what exactly you can tell about 2024 edition. 

G.G. Fantastic. Talk to you again always. Thank you.

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