Each company leader of course is different, as a personality. We had the opportunity to discuss his way into aviation business with the Founder of Emperor Aviation, Irakli Litanishvili.
Q. Irakli! How did you come into business aviation in particular?
I. To answer your question shortest way possible – I’m in aviation by occasion. To tell you how it happened, I need to start from the beginning when I got my Master Degree in Northumbria University, Newcastle Bussines School. As almost every student I was working. And to be honest, I am really grateful to Costa Coffee af Waterloo station, which made me learn a lot, the basics of communication with different clients. Later, when I was choosing between two job offers I had, both financial analytics, I had an offer from a friend to have a look also at a charter broker company vacant position. And I choosed that option, even though I had never been looking to work in business aviation before.
Q. Obvious question – what is the idea of creating your company?
After some years in charter company I came at EBACE for the first time where I got several job offers and finally choosed Ocean Sky Aviation. It was amazing time for me, a lot of experience, knowledge, challenges. I still remember what I was told taking the position of representative for Russia and CIS. The chairman told me – „I would like to see the footprint of Ocean Sky everywhere in Russia and CIS”. One of my friends gave me an amazing advice – „you understand both mentalities – British and Russian, or western and eastern, use it, build a bridge in between and facilitate the cooperation”. It was cool idea and I started to work. First step I did was extremely unusual for the business aviation market. Can you imagine? We were exclusive provider of private jets for Bondiana movies! And I organaized a private viewing of Quantum of Solace for all our customers in Moscow. It was unforgettable.
So thanks to all my years in business aviation, experience I had, mistakes and success, I found partners with whom we built our concept to attract owners for aircraft management. It was pretty complicated time. 2008, year of economic crisis. So aircraft owners started to really pay attention and count money, looking for the way to get more efficient management. The most important for us while building our own company was trust and responsibility for the asset we manage.
Q. Maltese operator - how did you find your „home”?
We found the best option for our AOC to be Malta. The government was doing all possible in order to attract business aviation companies to choose the island as their headquarters. So after having considered all options we have made our choice. And lucky to have amazing team we went all the way creating AOC. We are proud to tell – our Manuals is the result of 4 months work of our team. But a very important thing if not the most important – the trust of aircraft owners, who believed in us, after working for already several years together in different management companies, who came with us and choosed Emperor Aviation to manage their aircraft.
Q. At the recent EBACE 2016 Event professionals discussed business aviation market trends, how would you identify the market in 2016 at the moment?
I. Since 2008 from time to time people discuss the decrease, the crisis coming and then stepping back...Yes, some owners sold their aircraft and became clients for charter flights again. That happened for some people because of economical situation, for others – because of making not really right calculations of operating costs. For some individuals, companies just fought off the desire to be an aircraft owner. But in general I would say that at the moment there are considerably less new clients on the market. That makes professionals in business aviation industry to think first of all about the quality of services keeping existing client happy and looking forward to find new ones.
Q. What is important to tell about Emperor Aviation? What makes you different?
I. First of all, I would like to say that we are working for a long perspective. We could be compared to a runner for a long distance. We have a strategy of development, our goals are achieved one by one in order to go further. Our business is diversified: we have ground handling company in our group, fueling, flight support. Aircraft management company became sort of Family office for our clients, meaning the vote of confidence ready to be inherited. I am also proud that our team has almost zero staff turnover. Our people grow with the company. It makes me be sure that they are happy and they see that we are keeping promises we made – we will invest in you in order to grow.
Q.What are the things you like less and what you like a more in business aviation?
I don’t like hypocrisy, unnatural smiles and phony attitude. But I guess you can find people working like that not only in business aviation. What I really like....the success, realization of your goals, step by step I would say the success is less important than the way to your success. What you've learned during that way, what you’ve got as experience is amazing. Business aviation lets you meet successful people together with their stories and their ways to become like that.
Q. For you personally, is it primarily the work or vocation, a passion for the sky, without which you cannot already do?
I. I’m always telling our team – if the business model is right, theoretical, you can copy and paste it into other industry as well. So I wouldn’t say that business aviation is just my passion – it is where I like to build and create, from scratch to go all the way to succeed.
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