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INTERVIEW: On a well-chartered career path

Steady progress landed Sarah Wightwick her marketing manager, Europe role at Luxaviation Group, where she is responsible for helping to promote the region's largest business aviation services provider.

How did you get into the aviation industry?

I have always had a keen interest in aviation – especially private aviation because I’ve always been passionate about luxury travel. As a child, I remember being totally enamoured by airports and aeroplanes and I can remember the sense of awe that seeing them stirred in me. I still love it, and never tire of the thrill of seeing a jet build up speed and take to the skies.

How has your career progressed so far?

I set out on my career after graduating from the University of Hertfordshire, starting out as a marketing executive at the construction firm Fix8. I spent three years there before learning of a marketing position at London Executive Aviation (LEA) – now Luxaviation UK – in 2010. My application was successful and it was my entry into the private aviation industry.

I progressed to the role of marketing manager and oversaw the marketing side of LEA’s acquisition by the Luxaviation Group in 2015, and the subsequent rebranding to Luxaviation UK, which involved everything from the website and marketing collateral to our crew uniforms and aircraft livery. Following my recent maternity leave, I have returned to Luxaviation UK and my role has evolved so I am now the marketing manager for Europe for the Luxaviation Group.

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Luxaviation

How would you describe your current job?

While I am still based at Luxaviation UK’s head office in Stapleford, located 30km (19 miles) northeast of London, I take on many group responsibilities as marketing manager for Europe. These include overseeing the region’s marketing collateral, running social media campaigns and ensuring the website performs well in Google rankings.

I’m able to be flexible with my time in and out of the office, with the option to work from home a few times a week – something that has been particularly helpful since returning from maternity leave. With resources like Skype and instant messaging services it's easier than ever to stay connected with my colleagues, meaning we can get the job done just as well from any location. I work very closely with Luxaviation’s senior leadership team, notably the group’s chief marketing officer, to showcase Luxaviation’s activities and promote our initiatives. Another major part of my job is co-ordinating events to ensure the group is well represented.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I can safely say that I love my job and that I work with some amazing people across a number of fascinating projects, but there are areas that I am especially proud of. At Luxaviation UK, we carry out a lot of charity work for the likes of Breast Cancer Now and Movember, and it is so rewarding to work on these campaigns. We recently ran a #wearitpink campaign for Breast Cancer Now – all staff and crew wore pink to raise awareness for the charity. It’s great fun and important to give something back.

I also enjoy putting on aviation industry events, such as the Aviation Polo Challenge in support of The Prince’s Trust. These events bring the industry together and it’s always good to meet up with colleagues and like-minded individuals in engaging, social situations.

What are the challenges?

Of course, any job has its challenges and my main one is what makes me love my job so much – diversity. Two days are rarely the same, which can be stressful but also exciting. Another challenge I am faced with is that working as part of a global marketing team means there are different regions, time zones and cultures to consider. Ensuring that everything works for everyone can be a challenge. We also cover different services that require different strategies. For example, the charter market requires luxury brochures, whereas an MRO needs precise lists and tables. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.

What are the strongest countries in Europe for charter and why?

Typically, Europe’s leading business aviation markets are still the UK, Germany and France. When it comes to charter activity, Italy and Switzerland have been consistently strong markets, while Poland and Ukraine have grown in popularity in recent years. The simple reason for this is that business travel is more apparent in these markets compared with other European countries, as private jets are more commonly used for business versus leisure.

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