Frank Noppel has put the experience garnered from participation in a family business in Germany to good use, setting up air taxi company Ambeo after studying aerospace engineering at Cranfield University.

What sparked your interest in business and general aviation?

Having grown up near a local airfield in Germany, I have always been exposed to aircraft and developed an interest in aviation. It is a main cornerstone of the global economy providing fast, reliable and safe transport for people and goods, bringing populations and cultures together and spurring technological innovation.

I came across four-seater jets such as the Cessna Citation Mustang when I did my PhD in aerospace engineering at Cranfield University. I was immediately taken by the opportunities that emerged with this new technology. Business aviation is becoming increasingly popular. Ambeo will help to make this service accessible to more people as demand increases and the cost of providing this service is reduced.

Frank Noppel
 Noppel: enjoying seeing the Ambeo brand emerging in the industry

What does your job entail?

As the chief executive of Ambeo, I am involved in all parts of the business such as sales, marketing, finance and operations. I am surrounded by a fantastic team that gives me all the support I need. I spend a lot of my time with customers, suppliers and partners. With our offices in the UK and France, I travel frequently between London and Paris.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

Our aim is delivering excellent service to highest possible standards without compromise. As a fast-growing early-stage company, the biggest challenge is to deliver this service while keeping up the challenges that emerge with a high-growth business.

Everything is built from scratch and designed to provide a solid foundation to keep up with expansion. The best sign of a successful business is when clients come back, which we see happening frequently.

How does your previous experience help?

A family business in Germany gave me a solid foundation and business acumen. Big-picture thinking is vital and exposure to the day-to-day operation of a business, even if not in the same field, is a good basis. A good university education was helpful for strategic decision-making and applying methodology.

In your working life so far, what are you most proud of?

It was satisfying to see a business grow from an idea on paper to a European operation. I was new to business aviation, but we managed to set up a successful operation in a relatively short time.

What qualifications/skills do you need for your job?

Starting a company from nothing requires persistence and patience as everything takes longer than expected. You need discipline and motivation to execute your ideas. Persuasion and leadership qualities are necessary to head up the organisation.

What are the best things about your job?

It is great to see your brand emerging in the industry and people starting to talk about it.

What are the worst?

I cannot think of any bad aspects. Obviously, this job is demanding with 24/7 availability and a lot of sleepless nights. Things can sometimes be frustrating when they do not go to plan. But all this is offset by the satisfaction and buzz you get from growing your own company.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the air taxi market?

I think we did things the right way - no shortcuts, no compromises. You have to be in control of your operation and the delivery of your service.

It requires a lot of work upfront, but it is worth it.

Source: Flight International