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Up for the challenge

ExecuJet’s new group FBO director, Ettore Poggi, reveals how he is settling into the role and what comes next for this major business aviation company 


What does the role of group FBO director involve?
ExecuJet’s current FBO network comprises 23 FBOs across seven regions, from the Caribbean and Latin America to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. We have had major growth in recent years – 300% in terms of movements, with Mexico, Munich, and St Maarten among the latest FBOs to join us. 

My responsibilities will be to maintain the levels of service we provide at each of our locations, which will involve the standardization and streamlining of relevant policies and procedures, together with our procurement office obtaining the best possible global supplier agreements. I will also be meeting with clients, enhancing our use of technology, and growing the FBO footprint.

Have you worked with ExecuJet before?
I’ve been with ExecuJet Africa for the last 14 years, firstly as a managing director and then as vice-president, where I was responsible for three MROs, three FBOs, and the management and charter services for a fleet of 48 aircraft. My background before that was IT. 

For this job, you’re relocating to the Middle East. Will you oversee the FBOs remotely? 

When you look at the network, and where all of our FBOs are based, it makes sense, from a timezone and travel perspective, to be centrally located. 

Will cultural and business influences from around the world affect your role? 

Our culture and attitude toward customer service safety is universal, and we train every day on these elements – these are the values that drive our decisions on customer service, communication, trust and responsibility, and go a long way to addressing some of the regional nuances. At the same time, we recognize that these regional touches are important, so we also employ locally; we encourage a local flavor and see this as a way of showing that we are proud to be part of the region. 

What have been the highlights for ExecuJet’s FBO facilities over the years?

There have been many, but being a significant contributor to the handling of general aviation movements at two FIFA World Cups (Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010) was particularly pleasing. At Lanseria Airport, located near Johannesburg, South Africa, our FBO handled 278 movements on the day of the [2010 World Cup] final – an outstanding achievement. Of course, winning awards for having the best FBOs outside of the USA on a number of occasions is a real highlight for ExecuJet as well.

What can you tell us about the network’s global strategy going forward?
I don’t want to divulge too much at this early stage – it’s up to the CEO of Luxaviation Group [which acquired ExecuJet in 2015], Patrick Hansen, to announce all of that. 

Naturally, the FBO plans will be in line with his growth strategy, while ensuring that our focus on customer service remains at the forefront of our daily activities. But I can say that there are at least two areas for potential development – the Luxaviation Group manages more than 260 aircraft on behalf of clients, and our target is to double this. We also want to increase our footprint to reach out to more people and grow the brand.

Do you look to particular countries for growth?
We are not focused on any particular geographic area – it really depends on where the opportunities present themselves. I also don’t believe that it’s particularly wise to compete with some of our major suppliers, but it really does depend on the opportunity.

What makes an ExecuJet FBO stand out from the competition? 
There is no question in my mind that our employees – the people who deliver the service – are the difference between us and our competitors. They work tirelessly to ensure that they deliver ExecuJet’s collective passion for outstanding customer service. We are committed to making every customer interaction unique and memorable.

What do people look for when choosing an FBO? 
People look for a strong safety culture and an efficient delivery of service. They also want availability and the prompt delivery of fuel and other apron services. The proximity of an MRO and other on-site services, such as customs and immigration, will play a role too. The first-time visitor will watch how you handle the aircraft during towing, the number and alertness of the wing walkers, and how the tow bars are utilized – and they will spread the word. We want our customers to be ambassadors.

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