VistaJet invests another €100 million in Malta's aviation industry – Malta Independent Online





VistaJet has announced a further €100 million investment in Malta’s aviation industry with the purchase of three new luxury jets, all of which arrived in Malta on Friday.

The acquisition has seen the company’s fleet increase to a total of 70 private aircraft, 60 of which are registered in Malta, while the rest are split between locations in the United States and China.

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most recent investment adds to an impressive total of an approximate €2 billion outlay in its Malta-registered assets. Two of the jets are Challenger 350s, which sleep nine and have a seven-hour range. The third is a Global 6000, which sleeps seven, has 14 seats and a 13.5-hour range. The aircraft were manufactured in Toronto and Montreal and are state-of-the-art.

The luxury airliner’s target demographic includes private individuals, Heads of State, corporate leaders, and entrepreneurs. It may sound ridiculous considering the years of economic uncertainty which have plagued numerous industries, but VistaJet is experiencing unprecedented success, with VistaJet’s Chief Operating Officer Nick van der Meer saying the company has seen a 20 per cent year-on-year growth in revenues.

The previously Austrian airline, which was originally headquartered in Switzerland and which has since moved to Malta, obtained an Operating Licence and an Air Operator Certificate from Transport Malta in May 2012.

Speaking to The Malta Independent on Sunday, Mr van der Meer (photo) praised the pro-business attitude of both current and previous administrations, which has allowed the company to achieve exponential growth.

Stressing that the business-friendly environment found in Malta has been a primary cause for the company’s extremely successful yet simple business model, which views efficiency as a vital cog in its ever-expanding machine.

Mr van der Meer singles out Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate for particular praise, emphasising its pro-business stance as it allowed the company to function to its highest capacity, while always placing safety first. In fact, he stressed the idea that the three new jets were able to be listed in the Maltese registry in a single morning, in comparison to the several weeks it would take in other jurisdictions.

The company’s interest in Malta began with a meeting with former Minister for Infrastructure, Communications and Transport Austin Gatt in 2011. Mr van der Meer was full of praise for the way the former minister and his staff conducted themselves, even though they had been on holiday at the time, saying that he was “impressed by their approach to business”.

A year’s trial period in Malta with five aircraft, proved to the company that Malta was the perfect place from which to catalyse further growth.

Mr van der Meer insists that VistaJets’ reason for moving its headquarters to Malta was not for tax purposes. Instead, he cites the business-friendly environment that both the current and former administrations have created. The fact that the governments’ primary interest was to “create jobs” and the country’s “progressive business attitude” resonated with him.

Mr van der Meer believes that the relationship between the company and the government is mutually beneficial since it is able to provide a large amount of business to other sectors within the Maltese economy, specifically hotels by booking over 6,000 room nights per year for crew and staff training taking place in Malta.

He also maintains that the company is able to promote Malta as a business hub saying that, “Wherever we fly, we fly the Maltese flag, the destinations we fly to are worldwide and we believe we are able to create a lot of interest in Malta”.

Walking into VistaJets’ headquarters and operational base in Malta, one immediately gets the impression that the company prides itself on providing modern, state-of-the-art facilities. The luxury aircraft company has a growing workforce with 245 employees in Malta and 805 worldwide.

It has a constant direct stream with its offices in London, Hong Kong, China and the USA allowing employees to have instant communication with the company’s international workforce. This allows the company to schedule over 100 flights per day with a fleet of 70 aircraft. There is much focus on IT services and programming in order to be at the forefront of technological innovation in the industry.

VistaJet certainly revolutionised the industry. Prior to its formation, there were three private aviation options: a client could choose a random charter aircraft, purchase his own plane, or buy into fractional ownership.

VistaJet instead decided to provide a fourth option for the industry, by introducing a subscription-based plane service that allows customers a guaranteed availability block of hours per year.

The service is able to fly clients to every corner of the world with as little as 24 hours’ notice, and prides itself on its highly-efficient, high-quality worldwide service. The jets and their interiors are impeccable and are only matched by their on-board service.  

The entire fleet shares the same features and details, which Mr van der Meer believes provides a brand familiarity with the clients who, in turn, are able to have their high expectations met on every flight.

Photos Jonathan Borg

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