Jet Aviation director Bernard Ratsira explains how he successfully transferred his skills from the hospitality industry to aviation

Twenty years ago Bernard Ratsira worked in the world of luxury hotels. His skills revolved around ensuring everything ran smoothly and that valued customers were recognised and treated accordingly.

Today those same skills are being used by Ratsira to enhance the travel experience for customers in the aviation industry.

Ratsira is now director of Jet Aviation’s fixed-base operation (FBO) at Geneva, Switzerland and has provided the FBO service to heads of state, rock stars, politicians and business leaders.

“Essentially we are talking about the same drivers for service that I saw in the hotel business,” Ratsira says. “We may be invisible to the person receiving the service, but we know we have done well when everything runs smoothly.

“When the US president came through this facility I had dozens of files of protocol, security requirements and other pieces of information. It was a huge operation for the FBO team and the acknowledgement from the White House of how well it had gone was great praise for our team.

“Managing a facility like this is very much part of a hospitality business, but is equally a huge part of aviation too.”

Jet Aviation is very much at the heart of the business aviation community in Europe and is growing around the world with centres in Asia, the USA and most recently in Dubai and across the Middle East.

The company was founded in Switzerland in 1967 and over nearly 40 years has grown dramatically with more than 3,500 employees in 60 facilities and stations worldwide. It provides maintenance, avionics, completions and engineering services, along with aircraft sales, charter, management and aviation staffing on a global basis.

Ratsira’s Geneva FBO is busy, with an average 3,200 aircraft movements and more than 17,000 passengers a year.

Passengers are greeted at the door and taken to a lounge where there is internet access, satellite television and a DVD player.

The Jet Aviation FBO also includes a conference room. “Some of our guests don’t want to go into the city. They land and host a meeting with lawyers or local partners here. We can supply catering and audio visual equipment. This facility is extremely popular and is used every day.”

Ratsira also has to work closely with the pilots and other members of the flightcrew.

“Pilots receive complimentary weather reports and can make use of showers, a rest facility and a private lounge and we arrange for crew buses to take the crew to the city and to and from the aircraft.

“We know how important it is to make it easy for pilots and crew to use our facility and we make it as trouble-free as we can,” Ratsira says. “People who have been successful in hotels and hospitality can make the transition to this side of the business. It is the best move I ever made and I don’t regret a single day.”


Source: Flight International