Lithuanian newcomer KlasJet has enjoyed a promising start in the European charter market since obtaining its AOC in June. Ceo Vitalij Kapitonov says that amid growing demand for services in the region, several competitors are springing up, and maintains that the key to his early success has been establishing trust between operator and client. “Any company offering business aviation services should focus on proving itself to be exceptionally professional, as well as fully capable of maintaining high levels of safety and quality,” he says.
“Business aviation is of course heavily dependent on the current economical state of a given country. We are still seeing major growth from rapidly developing regions such as Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the CIS. In Europe and the US, the demand still hasn't reached pre-crisis levels. Nonetheless, more and more clients have started to view our services as an important business tool, rather than a luxury.”
KlasJet is mainly active in Russia, the CIS and eastern Europe. In the CIS alone the business jet fleet has grown almost fourfold in the last decade. There are also at least 8,500 annual business flights in Russia, 75 per cent of which fly to Europe.
In Europe, over 400,000 private and business flight are performed annually. “Commercial aviation in some parts of eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS is still underdeveloped, so business aviation has become an increasingly viable option when having to reach distinct points of destination,” Kapitonov continues. “The business aviation market is very sensitive to regulatory and political forces, so the demand can change pretty quickly. Having said that, the forecast for the aforementioned markets seems favourable at this time, which is why KlasJet is currently feeling confident enough to explore the promising Middle East.”
The company has two jets in its fleet – a Bombardier CRJ200 and Challenger 850. Kapitonov reveals that he is planning to add a Legacy at the earliest opportunity, along with a Hawker 800/850 and CL605. “By 2018 our fleet should expand to 10 owned and managed aircraft,” he remarks.
KlasJet also offers aircraft manage-ment, covering crewing, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, hangarage and other services. It recently started to offer vip charter brokerage services as well, arranging all the aspects of a flight according to specific individual requirements.
“Launching aviation services is always a challenge due to the competitive environment and regulatory requirements. However, it can be pretty painless once you do your market research, as well as build a qualified team and make sure your company complies with the requirements of such international organisations as ICAO, EASA and IATA. We are fully satisfied with the start of our services,” he concludes.