Luxaviation Proposes Action For Industry’s Survival
With the collapse of Europe’s business aviation charter business under coronavirus travel bans, the industry must join together to weather the crises.
So says Patrick Hansen, CEO of Luxaviation Group, the world’s biggest business jet management and charter group. On March 17 he launched a three-pronged solidarity initiative to help smaller operators survive by sharing Luxaviation’s resources for free, to pull major industry players together, and to lobby politicians for a share in any transportation recovery aid.
The industry is typified by slim margins and notoriously late payments by its clientele—a sure recipe for disaster when business is interrupted for any length of time. “The main thing is cash flow, cash, cash, cash,” he says. That will dry up as airplanes are parked, and suppliers, leasing companies and banks will be calling operators for payments within the next few weeks.
Hansen is urging the industry itself to set up a guarantee fund to help persuade suppliers to stretch out payment terms; he will contribute, but not alone. Meanwhile, he is offering other operators access to Luxaviation’s bulk-buying advantages and payment terms. He is also offering access to its legal expertise and documentation in planning any allowed flights within Europe.
But this will not be enough. Hansen wants major suppliers such as fuel companies, OEMs and financial institutions to group together to support the industry. Luxaviation, he says, can start the ball rolling and be the catalyst. But the effort should be brought under the umbrella of major trade associations such as the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), which cannot do it by itself, he adds.
“We are all going to suffer with this crisis,” Hansen says. “But we have to get through it.”
When the skies eventually clear, an industry grouping—hopefully involving politicians and infrastructure operators such as Eurocontrol—should ensure that as recovery focuses on air transportation that business aviation gets attention, too. “We have to be fast out of the gate,” he says.
Hansen says his initiative has already started to generate interest. “The quicker the better,” he adds.