There is a tendency to think of “disruption” as being the preserve of freshly minted companies. But in the business aviation sector, some of the entities that have been pursuing fresh approaches to the market have been around long enough to feel properly established. Take, for example, PrivateFly: the British-based digital charter-booking platform recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

“In the beginning there were so many doubters in the industry,” PrivateFly founder Adam Twidell recalls. “I remember being shouted down at an industry conference by the head of sales at Air Partner, who said, ‘Nobody will ever book a private jet online.’

“Ten years later, clearly he has been proven very, very wrong.”

In 2017, PrivateFly was ranked at number 87 in the Sunday Times’ list of the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies, with sales growth of 48% over three years; the firm also appeared in the first annual list of the thousand fastest-growing companies in Europe, compiled by he Financial Times, where PrivateFly’s three-year revenue growth figure (467%) was enough to give it 265th position. The company is profitable, with sales in excess of $20 million. Twidell cites two factors above all others that have helped generate these impressive figures.

“It’s a combination of having great people, and having solid tech behind the company,” he says. “We grew another 51% last year, and the U.S. is going from strength to strength. But the secret is taking your time with recruitment and employing great people – and not taking on average employees. When I look up from my desk at everyone in the office, every single person is brilliant. And we’ve got good structures underneath.”

The company expanded its U.S. operation towards the end of 2017 with the acquisition of charter broker Bird Dog Jet, and Twidell says PrivateFly intends to open an office on the west coast – likely either in Los Angeles or San Francisco – by the end of this year. But, he stresses, expansion has to be manageable, and organic.

“We haven’t tried to overstretch ourselves at any point,” Twidell says. “We’ve done things properly, and in a controlled, precise sort of way. Speed is great but it’s got to be under control. That’s how we handle our customers as well: a lot of what we do is about getting pricing quickly, but you only want to do that if it’s the right pricing and the right aircraft.”