Tell us about your career so far

On leaving university my job was in accountancy but I soon realised that a career as a pilot was a lot more appealing so I made the move into aviation, joined an airline and spent nearly 20 years flying commercially before ‘retiring’ into my present position, but ‘never say never’, who knows what might happen? It is aviation after all!

How is the European business aircraft charter market faring?

If our current experience of the charter market is anything to go by, I would have to say that it is faring well, our 2016 activity is just short of three times that at the same point in 2015. Other indications are also positive, aircraft appear to be transacting more quickly, the managed aircraft fleet is increasing and maintenance activity is noticeably higher.

How do you see this sector evolving over the next decade?

Hopefully what we are seeing currently is the beginning of a period of sustained growth. World events and economic indicators tend to support the case for a strengthening business aviation sector. I am not sure what effect, if any, a vote to exit the EU might have on the UK business but do think that in any event, the biggest opportunities lie in the strengthening economies in the rest of the world.

Stuart Mulholland Zenith

Zenith Aviation

Tell us about your typical week

No two weeks are ever the same but Zenith is now largely self-sustaining and the team is excellent so my focus is now primarily on developing the business further and looking at new areas of opportunity. That said, contracts, budgets and a continual round of meetings are never far from the agenda. An hour or so of quiet contemplation at forty-odd thousand feet and a few nights down route does from time to time have huge appeal!

What do you find most challenging about your role?

Balancing the desire to see the business grow as quickly as possible with both the regulatory framework that we work within and the need to retain oversight of what we have built so far. I feel a bit like the relay runner that has safely grasped the baton, but with the knowledge that it is all over if he drops it.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I used to say that it was giving people the opportunity to develop and seeing them grow, both as individuals and as valuable members of what is a very close-knit team. Now it is probably more seeing the business as a whole develop, which is what actually gives rise to the opportunities. We have recently upgraded our aircraft operator's certification to the worldwide category, which has created four new positions in our in-house operations team with further recruitment on the cards.

What are Zenith’s plans for 2016?

So far this year we have seen a huge increase in activity across all areas of the business, so more of the same please. We are also pursuing new areas of opportunity that, if successful, will see us spread geographically and diversify our activities. I would not rule out being involved [with] much larger aircraft, and even helicopters. That said, airliners I understand; helicopters might put a bit too much pressure on the baton for my liking!

Source: Flight International