DC Aviation: Turning Challenges into Opportunities
From the global pandemic to the effects of climate change, where others see problems, DC Aviation sees opportunities for business aviation.
It was once said that ‘every problem is an opportunity in disguise’ – and the pandemic is no exception.
“Business aviation, especially in Europe, has long been misperceived as an industry of the rich and famous,” says Stanley Bugeja, Managing Director of DC Aviation Malta. “But the pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to set the record straight.”
One of business aviation’s key messages has always been that it connects airports that are underserved – or even ignored – by scheduled airlines. During the pandemic, as commercial airlines were grounded, these airports and the communities they serve have become more isolated than ever.
“The companies operating in these communities are looking for alternatives – and business aviation should be the obvious choice,” adds Bugeja.
As Bugeja points out, the sector can make the case that it offers added value at a similar price point as what the commercial carriers can offer. For instance, with business aviation, one can do Malta to Stuttgart and back within a day. With a scheduled flight, this could take up to three days – all for a one-hour meeting.
“Using a business jet lets one cut out the expenses of hotels, transfers, meals, etc.,” notes Bugeja. “More importantly, it gets you back home to your family and loved ones sooner, which is something you can’t put a price on.”
Another plus in the business aviation column is safety, of particular concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike flying commercial, when one takes a business jet, you know who you are travelling with, can rest assured that the aircraft was properly cleaned, and can avoid standing in crowded ques.
“We are in a unique position where the case for business aviation is being made for us and the customer is discovering it on their own,” says Bugeja. “But, as the commercial airlines start to come back, this window of opportunity could close soon – so we need to act now.”
Small Changes Lead to Big Solutions
Although the pandemic may be the most immediate problem, one cannot lose sight of the ongoing challenge of sustainability. But for many of us, sustainability is such a huge issue that it can easily become overwhelming. After all, how can one person, or one company, make a difference?
“At DC Aviation, we know that climate change is a challenge we must face,” says Bugeja. “But we need to approach it as a manageable challenge, and that requires identifying the things we can do and the things that are simply beyond our control.”
For example, as a business aircraft management company, DC Aviation always recommends the most efficient aircraft available on the market to their clients and, when available, the use of sustainable jet fuel. The company also recently signed an agreement with CTX Global, a carbon trading platform recommended by IBAC. “One thing we can do is offer our clients the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of their fuel burn when SAF is not available,” notes Bugeja.
Furthermore, DC Aviation has decided to offset 100% of the fuel uplifted out of its Malta location, which offers aircraft handling services. “We are using Malta as a case study to learn how we can expand this to our other locations,” says Bugeja. “This is another example of how we aim to start small, but with the goal of going big.”
The company is also always on the lookout for new opportunities to improve its own carbon footprint. For instance, it’s Stuttgart hangar has been outfitted with energy-efficient lighting. Not only has this upgrade significantly cut the facility’s carbon footprint, it also resulted in a four-fold increase in lighting quality – an increase that has the added benefit of improving the well-being of shop employees. The same concept will be outfitted at a new hangar in Munich, which should be ready by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
On top of all this, DC Aviation is in the process of electrifying its ramp equipment. The company’s executive transport fleet is currently 50% hybrid, and they hope to go all-electric by early next year.
“Of course, all of this will not offset the total fuel burn of our operations,” adds Bugeja. “But if everybody starts by making the small changes that they can control, it will eventually add up to a very big change.”
Facilitating Sustainable Growth
But sustainability goes beyond just climate change – it’s also about ensuring the sustainability of the communities we do business in.
Here, Business aviation excels.
“The amount of business that our customers bring to a local economy is vital – even more so during the pandemic,” remarks Bugeja.
Sure, one could argue that the pandemic has taught us all how to Zoom. But it has also taught us the limitations of a virtual life. For example, you cannot adequately inspect a store or a factory by Zoom. For this, you need boots on the ground. And when these businesses aren’t located in the hubs of London, Frankfurt, or Milan, you have business aviation.
“Business aviation creates business – and jobs – in places the commercial airlines don’t serve,” concludes Bugeja. “We allow companies to invest and do business in these areas and, in doing so, help facilitate sustainable growth.”
Want to know more about DC Aviation? Visit their profile here.