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Manuel Romero-Vargas Castrillón, managing director of Manny Aviation Services, explains how he will continue his father’s legacy by providing the best handling coordination services in Mexico
Left: Manuel Romero-Vargas Castrllón pictured with mother and Manny Aviation Services’ board member, Mayel Romero-Vargas, and the late Manuel ‘Manny’ Romero-Vargas Gomez de Parada’s dog, Roque
Tell us about Manny Aviation’s history.
Manny Aviation Services was launched by the late Manuel ‘Manny’ Romero-Vargas Gomez de Parada in 1997. Manny began working in the aviation industry in 1959 at his uncle’s Casa Ponce de Leon inflight catering company at Mexico City Airport before becoming Mexico City station manager for British Airways in 1973, where he was responsible for British Airways’ (BA) traffic and flight operations from London Heathrow Airport. He then became CEO of Universal Aviation Services Company (UASCO) in 1979 until 1993.
Manny Aviation Services is recognized throughout Mexico as a company committed to providing personalized, high quality flight and ground support services all over the country. Its offices are located in the city of Toluca, while its operation facilities are in and outside ‘Lic Adolfo López Mateos’ Toluca International Airport. Manny Aviation has played a significant role in the development of the airport as a destination for business aviation.
What services do you provide to business aviation operators in Mexico?
Manny Aviation provides a complete range of services with the efficiency expected by its customers, tending to every detail for aircraft of all types, from Beechcraft King Airs to the Boeing 747-8. Its staff of well-trained, experienced and committed personnel fulfills any demand requested by the clients and ensures that all aviation requirements are fully satisfied.
We consider ourselves a direct support to your flight department, an extension of your international service provider – in essence, your co-pilot. Our goal, while satisfying all safety and security requirements, is to provide the highest quality and guarantee the best service available in Mexico, rendered with integrity and professionalism, and always with a smile.
How has the company developed over the past few years?
We started this business in 1997 but before actually incorporating Manny Aviation Services our president and CEO, my father, began an operation between 1994 and 1996. It is clear that from our early beginnings to this date, especially in the past five years, international operators are more demanding than ever and more careful about how they spend their money.
Operators want the best of the best and we push ourselves to guarantee superb services, making sure all is set and arranged prior, during and after the trip. Having the privilege to service international operators with that kind of mentality helps us to become better and better every day. Our policy is that 'Manny is as good as our last handling'.
Where are you seeing the most growth?
Even though it’s been a challenging year, we have seen the development of more international traffic, especially at airports like San Luis Potosi International where the automotive business is booming as well as other industries. Our services have also increased slightly at both Monterrey airports, following the resolution of past security threats that caused a drastic decrease of business aviation traffic.
Toluca, Querétaro, Cancún, Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas International airports continue to be on our top list. Toluca and Querétaro are popular with business travelers, while the other three are located at holiday resorts, and we will continue to invest in more people and service infrastructure at these airports.
Helicopter transfers from Toluca to Mexico City are also increasing as executives are not willing to spend 2.5 hours on the highway. Instead, they want to take a 20-minute flight to their destination and our partnership with Heligroup facilitates this.
How do you plan to expand the business in the future?
It has been and always will be our ‘Mexican Dream’ to run our own full-service FBO in Toluca, and we are willing to accomplish that dream in partnership with another company that believes in Manny’s way of doing business. We are in the process of reviewing our SMS and hope to become an IS-BAH (International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling) certified handling agent, creating more peace of mind for our customers.
What are the challenges of flying to Mexico and how do you assist with this?
Servicing new operators is always challenging no matter the size of the aircraft or the number of passengers. The challenge is to quickly learn the way each customer likes to be served, anticipating their needs and concerns and adapting to the way they like to be treated. Invoicing is always a challenge and we push ourselves to be quick when invoicing customers, bringing together all back-up documents.
There are good handlers in Mexico and we would suggest that customers make sure they are dealing with an authorized agent with the correct contracts, bonds and insurances, such as third party liability, at all airports. Above all, operators should look for a handler with experience, a good reputation and IS-BAH certification. Being an NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) member is not enough.
What major changes are you seeing in the business aviation industry in Mexico?
The Constitution of Mexico was amended recently so now the Mexican government will not be the only entity to sell aviation fuel, which will allow major foreign companies in the industry to invest and partner with locals in the development of aviation fuel nationwide.
Currently, Petróleos Mexicanos is the only company to sell fuel, however there are several private resellers, including Mexican national companies and foreign companies, with valid contracts to resell aviation fuel. These include World Fuel Services-Colt International and UVair, a Universal Weather and Aviation subsidiary. The next five years will see fuel trucks from other private entities besides the one operated by our government.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
In 2017 Manny Aviation Services will celebrate 20 years [in operation], and we would like to thank the companies that placed their trust in us at the very beginning: Jeppesen Dataplan, Pentastar Aviation, Avjet Corporation, Clay Lacy Aviation and Citi.
August 10, 2015