Thomas Flohr, founder of VistaJet - which last month placed the sector's biggest ever transaction, for 56 Bombardier Global aircraft with 86 options - yesterday dismissed the business model of most of his Middle Eastern competitors.
Flohr was speaking just after landing in Dubai - the latest stop on a 14-city "world roadshow" on a Global 6000 designed to promote the Swiss operator's all-Bombardier fleet - and said VistaJet was the only operator that "has the concept of no home base".
All his competitors base their aircraft in one or more cities, said Flohr. "When you do that the aircraft needs to fly home at a time when the client doesn't want to fly home," he said. "Our home base is the sky. We guarantee an aircraft from anywhere to anywhere at 24 hours notice."
However, one drawback of the VistaJet concept is that the company cannot offer internal flights in most countries. It has got around this by setting up an air operator's certificate (AOC) in Russia and is partnering with China Airlines to offer domestic services in that country. In the USA it has a relationship with Bombardier's Flexjet fractional programme. Flohr also revealed that in two weeks he will be revealing "an African country in which we will be able to do the same".
"The way we look at the world is very simple," he said. "The bigger the country on the map, the more chance that we will want to have an AOC."
VistaJet offers mostly block charter packages of 100-200h. During 2012 it will carry 25,000 passengers on 10,000 single flights using its fleet of 35 wholly owned aircraft.
Flohr said the company, set up in 2005, had doubled in size during the downturn. "While other companies decided to pull out, we doubled up from 2008 to 2010," he said.
He said the company's business model reflected the new global economy. "When we set up it was a time the world changed forever. It was a Western-centric world trade. That is not the case any more. Brazil deals with the Middle East, China with Africa and so forth, bypassing Europe and the USA. There is an ever increasing need to fly between these countries," he said.