What sparked your interest in aviation?
I have been fortunate in my life and have travelled extensively. I have always enjoyed being at airports, looking at different aircraft and their destinations. Working in business aviation was a natural step for me – there is so much more to do in terms of getting rid of operational inefficiencies by applying solutions like Avinode and SchedAero.
Tell us about your career so far?
I knew Niklas Berg, chief executive of Avinode, when they were just starting up. Niklas asked me if I wanted to take on a new project called Avinode Cargo. I accepted and built up a cargo system based on the Avinode technology for urgent cargo shipments around Europe. The system worked well, but we realised Avinode should be focusing on the passenger marketplace.
When Avinode was growing, I was responsible for sales in key markets in Europe, Middle East and Asia and then became the Avinode sales director for Avinode International. In 2012, I took on the role as business manager for SchedAero.
In 2014, I relocated my family to Miami to be close to our US office.
What is SchedAero and Avinode?
Avinode is the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling private air charter with more than 7,000 aviation professionals using the system daily. Almost 3,200 aircraft are listed in the marketplace, and nearly 300,000 flight requests are processed monthly. SchedAero is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avinode and is the world’s fastest web-based aircraft and crew scheduling software system. It was launched in 2010 to fill a gap in the market for a digital, web-based system that is easily accessible to customers from any location. Together with Avinode, our portfolio includes the world's largest marketplace for air charter, an all-in-one charter sales and operations management software, and a complete sales management system for air charter brokers.
How is the European charter market faring?
We all know that Europe is not currently faring as well as the US, which is thriving in terms of charter and general use flight movements. Avinode’s business intelligence tells us that in 2015, compared with 2014, European flight movements for business jets fell overall by 1%, with the UK, the largest of the European markets for private aviation, rising by only 3% and Germany, second largest, falling by 6%. France, the third largest, also fell by 2%. In 2016 the trend seems to continue with another 1% drop in European flight movements, and looking at aircraft deliveries, market conditions and performance across the first five months of 2016, we are not forecasting a turnaround in the European charter market.
What does your job entail?
My time is focused on making sure the sales team is targeting the right clients, collecting feedback on what our clients like/dislike, and what new functionality they would like to see – and of course exceeding sales and customer growth goals. I also spend time with our product owner to discuss how we prioritise product development and how much time we spend on new functionality vs current features.
With marketing I make sure that our current clients know all that SchedAero can do for them, but also how we best target new clients worldwide. I am also involved on the Avinode side and I make sure I am on top of what is happening in the marketplace, to leverage that knowledge for SchedAero.
What are your major challenges?
How to prioritise product development correctly. We have bi-weekly meetings to discuss client feedback; we come up with a lot of ideas, but we also need to make sure we prioritise the ideas that provide the maximum client value for as many members as possible.
Another challenge is to get potential clients to understand that a change from their existing product to SchedAero is not a lengthy, time-consuming process. We do this daily and have a product specialist team who run through the process with new clients and ensure operators can utilise their data to take the correct decisions to enhance the way they do business.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being a part of and changing the industry. With Avinode, I have been part of changing the way operators and brokers do business, and with SchedAero, I want to change the way operators handle their internal processes so less time is being spent on fixing mistakes, informing everyone involved in the flight or spending time quoting trips that never turn into business.
Even though I have been doing this for 13 years, I am always excited about the future. There is so much more that we will do and when you have a team like we do at Avinode and SchedAero, it’s a joy to go to work every day and see the passion for the company and the industry.
Source: Flight International