Vis­taJet in­vests an­other €100 mil­lion into Malta’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try

To­tal in­vest­ment in Malta as­sets ap­proach­ing €2 bil­lion

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Ju­lian Bon­nici

Vis­taJet has an­nounced a fur­ther €100 mil­lion in­vest­ment in Malta’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try with the pur­chase of three new lux­ury jets, all of which ar­rived in Malta on Fri­day.

The ac­qui­si­tion has seen the com­pany’s fleet in­crease to a to­tal of 70 pri­vate air­craft, 60 of which are reg­is­tered in Malta, while the rest are split be­tween lo­ca­tions in the United States and China.

This most re­cent in­vest­ment adds to an im­pres­sive to­tal of an ap­prox­i­mate €2 bil­lion out­lay in its Malta-reg­is­tered as­sets. Two of the jets are Chal­lenger 350s, which sleep nine and have a seven-hour range. The third is a Global 6000, which sleeps seven, has 14 seats and a 13.5-hour range. The air­craft were man­u­fac­tured in Toronto and Mon­treal and are state-of-the-art.

The lux­ury air­liner’s tar­get de­mo­graphic in­cludes pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als, Heads of State, cor­po­rate lead­ers, and en­trepreneurs. It may sound ridicu­lous con­sid­er­ing the years of eco­nomic un­cer­tainty which have

plagued nu­mer­ous in­dus­tries, but Vis­taJet is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­prece­dented suc­cess, with Vis­taJet’s Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Nick van der Meer say­ing the com­pany has seen a 20 per cent year-on-year growth in rev­enues.

The pre­vi­ously Aus­trian air­line, which was orig­i­nally head­quar­tered in Switzer­land and which has since moved to Malta, ob­tained an Op­er­at­ing Li­cence and an Air Op­er­a­tor Cer­tifi­cate from Trans­port Malta in May 2012.

Speak­ing to The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day, Mr van der Meer praised the pro-busi­ness at­ti­tude of both cur­rent and pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions, which has al­lowed the com­pany to achieve ex­po­nen­tial growth.

Stress­ing that the busi­ness­friendly en­vi­ron­ment found in Malta has been a pri­mary cause for the com­pany’s ex­tremely suc­cess­ful yet sim­ple busi­ness model, which views ef­fi­ciency as a vi­tal cog in its ever-ex­pand­ing ma­chine.

Mr van der Meer sin­gles out Trans­port Malta’s Civil Avi­a­tion Direc­torate for par­tic­u­lar praise, em­pha­sis­ing its probusi­ness stance as it al­lowed the com­pany to func­tion to its high­est ca­pac­ity, while al­ways plac­ing safety first. In fact, he stressed the idea that the three new jets were able to be listed in the Mal­tese registry in a sin­gle morn­ing, in com­par­i­son to the sev­eral weeks it would take in other ju­ris­dic­tions.

The com­pany’s in­ter­est in Malta be­gan with a meet­ing with for­mer Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Trans­port Austin Gatt in 2011. Mr van der Meer was full of praise for the way the for­mer min­is­ter and his staff con­ducted them­selves, even though they had been on hol­i­day at the time, say­ing that he was “im­pressed by their ap­proach to busi­ness”.

A year’s trial pe­riod in Malta with five air­craft, proved to the com­pany that Malta was the per­fect place from which to catal­yse fur­ther growth.

Mr van der Meer in­sists that Vis­taJets’ rea­son for mov­ing its head­quar­ters to Malta was not for tax pur­poses. In­stead, he cites the busi­ness-friendly en­vi­ron­ment that both the cur­rent and for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tions have cre­ated. The fact that the gov­ern­ments’ pri­mary in­ter­est was to “cre­ate jobs” and the coun­try’s “pro­gres­sive busi­ness at­ti­tude” res­onated with him.

Mr van der Meer be­lieves that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the com­pany and the gov­ern­ment is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial since it is able to pro­vide a large amount of busi­ness to other sec­tors within the Mal­tese econ­omy, specif­i­cally ho­tels by book­ing over 6,000 room nights per year for crew and staff train­ing tak­ing place in Malta.

He also main­tains that the com­pany is able to pro­mote Malta as a busi­ness hub say­ing that, “Wher­ever we fly, we fly the Mal­tese flag, the desti­na­tions we fly to are world­wide and we be­lieve we are able to cre­ate a lot of in­ter­est in Malta”.

Walk­ing into Vis­taJets’ head­quar­ters and op­er­a­tional base in Malta, one im­me­di­ately gets the im­pres­sion that the com­pany prides it­self on pro­vid­ing modern, state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties. The lux­ury air­craft com­pany has a grow­ing work­force with 245 em­ploy­ees in Malta and 805 world­wide.

It has a con­stant di­rect stream with its of­fices in Lon­don, Hong Kong, China and the USA – al­low­ing em­ploy­ees to have in­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the com­pany’s in­ter­na­tional work­force. This al­lows the com­pany to sched­ule over 100 flights per day with a fleet of 70 air­craft. There is much fo­cus on IT ser­vices and pro­gram­ming in or­der to be at the fore­front of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion in the in­dus­try.

Vis­taJet cer­tainly rev­o­lu­tionised the in­dus­try. Prior to its for­ma­tion, there were three pri­vate avi­a­tion op­tions: a client could choose a ran­dom char­ter air­craft, pur­chase his own plane, or buy into frac­tional own­er­ship.

Vis­taJet in­stead de­cided to pro­vide a fourth op­tion for the in­dus­try, by in­tro­duc­ing a sub­scrip­tion-based plane ser­vice that al­lows cus­tomers a guar­an­teed avail­abil­ity block of hours per year.

The ser­vice is able to fly clients to every cor­ner of the world with as lit­tle as 24 hours’ no­tice, and prides it­self on its highly-ef­fi­cient, high-qual­ity world­wide ser­vice. The jets and their in­te­ri­ors are im­pec­ca­ble and are only matched by their on-board ser­vice.

The en­tire fleet shares the same fea­tures and de­tails, which Mr van der Meer be­lieves pro­vides a brand fa­mil­iar­ity with the clients who, in turn, are able to have their high ex­pec­ta­tions met on every flight.

Photo: Jonathan Borg

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