By Alexandre De Cardenal
We recently conducted an interview with our CEO, Stefaan Ghijs, discussing the ins and outs of Fly Aeolus, the initial objectives but also the perspectives of the air taxi market.
Our ultimate goal was to have answer on the following question: What is our why?
What is the the idea behind Fly Aeolus?
“The idea came to me after seeing and experiencing the endless queues in airports for traditional commercial flights.”, mentions Stefaan. He realized how much total travel time is lost with European flights. On average a European flight takes 1 to 1,5 hours, though the total travel time including pre and post travel, check in and security checks can take as much as 6 to 7 hours. For business travelers time is money, wasting several hours before and after the flight can be problematic. He realized that the time/distance ratio was far from optimal and that a solution had to be found. “We researched the average travel distances of private jet travelers in Western Europe and quickly realized that the highest contribution to the European total private air travel demand lies on flights with average distances between 500 and 900 km.” Taking this quiet short range into account Stefaan and his team understood that the solution should be found in providing an alternative to commercial flights at an affordable price while keeping the advantages of private jet flights.
What was the objective of Fly Aeolus ?
The primary objective was to save travel time for business travelers. Firstly by taking off and landing closer to the final original and destination. Stefaan says: “Thanks to the 1200 to 1600 airports available in North West Europe, we have a lot of possibilities for our customers and provide much more flexibility when it comes to the choice of destinations, than a private jet or commercial airline. Moreover, we dilute the check-in time at the airport to only 15 minutes. “The goal was to offer a private air transportation service with all the advantages of a private jet but for a fraction of the price.”
Have you always been passionate about aviation or did it come to you later?
Stefaan explains he has always been passionate about aviation and that he dreamed of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately becoming a pilot was complicated at that time because due to the strict regulations of wearing glasses. His passion for aviation really hit off when he visited Eurocontrol in Brussels with his father. The long rows of green radar screens with dozens of planes projected on them left a huge impression on him.
Stefaan choice to study aerospace engineering. He obtained his master’s degree in aerospace science at the Delft University of Technology. After graduating as an aerospace engineer, he immediately started Fly Aeolus.
What are Fly Aeolus’ values ?
Stefaan emphasizes two values that are essential to him and Fly Aeolus. The first one is a go-getter attitude. “NO is something you have and YES is something you can get.” is a quote that defines this concept very well according to Stefaan. Nothing is impossible until you try, skills can be learned and perfected.
The second value that Stefaan promotes is transparent communication, personal but also professional, whether it is with our customers or in internally within the company.
Why do customers choose Fly Aeolus?
Next to the affordable prices, clear and upfront communication is an important expectation of our customers. “So being responsive and personal in our communication makes a real difference. We want to be as transparent and clear as possible and hence offer an a high qualitative service.” says Stefaan.
What have you learned in the last couple of years?
In the last couple of years Fly Aeolus has learned many things. The first thing that Stefaan emphasizes is the distribution of resources and efforts on different tasks. Focusing on what really matters at a given moment and in a given context is essential to move forward. The progress will be higher when you also focus your resources accordingly. The latter also makes sure that you focus on what you do best.
Another point is revenue differentiation. Particularly in times of covid-19, the airline industry had taken a big hit Overnight, travel was limited or even forbidden, which forced the company to look for different revenues in order to keep the business alive. This is how a new branch FA Aircraft sales and acquisition was built. This generated a new challenges like how to balance between focus and revenue differentation?
What are your expectations for the future?
Stefaan explains that his vision of the air taxi future is twofold. As far as the short term is concerned, Fly Aeolus has seen an evolution in the customer demand in the last few months. In the past, customers used to plan and book their flights about a week before the departure date of the air taxi flight. But changing customer behaviour has driven customers to make a request for a private flight the next day. These requests require an adaptation of the flight logistics, so to be able to plan and schedule a flight from one day to the next.
On the long-term Stefaan mentions that technological aircraft development will allow to fly with aircraft emitting minimal or no greenhouse gas emissions at all. Fly Aeolus already offers their customers to offset the emissions of each flight.
Unfortunately, for the moment, the technologies that would allow us to replace the air taxi aircraft with emmission free variants are not yet fully developed. We are closely monitoring the technological progress of these futuristic devices which are expected to be a major breakthrough in this market. To sum up, we are aiming for the most sustainable and green travel possible with the goal of offering a zero emission air cab service in the future.
Follow the future of Fly Aeolus
Do you want to see the whole interview with Stefaan? Check the YouTube movie of the interview here.
If you want to know more about Fly Aeolus, such as the advantages of flying with Fly Aeolus or how our prices are set, we invite you to read our dedicated blogs.
Fly Aeolus offers flights to and from 1600 different airports in Europe. Check our destinations page to find your desired destination. Use our price calculator to check the price of your personalized Fly Aeolus air taxi trip and begin planning it!
For more help or any further questions with your reservation, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +32 (0)3 500 9082.